Careful review could get into many details that I don't have the time to digest at this time and you wouldn't read them, anyway. However, I have probably read all I need.
I have become somewhat numbed by the bizarre actions of our Planning Department. I think we have probably reached a new level of bureaucratic bombast. We are now even more bureaucratic than our USA government and the more famous French Caribbean Islands. Rowlett, Texas has now achieved the ultimate level of useless drivel. Our Planning Department has now recommended against the expansion of the Lake Pointe Medical Center because their plans do not fit Rowlett's version of Form Base Codes.
Now people, any hospital is a "special purpose" building. I can't think of a more "special purpose" building, unless it might be a missile silo. Every window has a purpose. Visitors have different needs than emergencies. Even the outside design must appeal to a patient's comfort and trust. The building must look institutional and not like a ride at Six Flags. There must be room for emergency vehicle traffic and it must be of good design to accommodate mass emergencies. There must be helipads designed with an absence of trees in mind. Parking is always a problem. Different entrances accommodate different needs. There is no way a hospital complex is going to look like a shopping area surrounded by apartments in Plano.
I have never seen in 50 years a neighborhood that has been harmed by the location of a hospital nearby. In fact, its been my experience that a hospital aids neighborhoods. Yet, the staff report suggests this might be a problem if FBC are not followed by the hospital. What hogwash. The citizens of Rowlett deserve better than this. If we can't get better service than this from staff, there needs to be some changes.
This is an unbelievably ignorant and arrogant decision. Just to preserve some sanity and civility in this decision, let's say the way the codes are written gives the Planning Department no option except to recommend denial.........unless they can find a loop hole. I would hope that our FBC allows for certain circumstances. If not, the rules should be re-written.
Of course, Planning Department reached outside our city to get an opinion from an expert. The expert must be good because there are letters after her name. The letters are CNU-A. CNU stands for Congress of New Urbanism. I suppose the A stands for something important. I often support CNU in some circumstances. Lake Pointe hospital isn't one of them. CNU is a strong advocate of Form Base Codes. If you think the designation is an old established and well respected and wizened organization, below comes from one of their websites:
"In 2008, CNU launched a new accreditation program to recognize the talent within the New Urbanist movement for creating walkable, sustainable places. The purpose of this program is to elevate the practice of the principles of New Urbanism through professional accreditation and to develop the CNU Accreditation program as a premier standard of professional excellence in the design of the built environment."
The only thing I know for sure from the above comment is that it was started in 2008....6 years ago.
Lake Pointe Medical is arguably Rowlett's best corporate citizen. They are the largest employer with the best wages. They support the city. The city has known for years that an expansion is near........then the Planning Department starts playing stupid games.
I've got an idea. Let's let Lake Pointe design their own hospital , something they know how to do, and keep our local yokels out. I trust the hospital to good design. I don't trust our Planning department to design a hospital. Then, let's throw Form Base Codes out. Believe me, you are just beginning to see the problems caused by strict compliance of FBC and bureaucratic logic. .