Members of the Wellington Village Council gave unanimous approval Tuesday to allow medical use on the Wellington Parc site, located on the west side of State Road 7 near Palomino Drive.
The 15.83-acre site was originally approved for 31,830 square feet of office space and some residential — fewer than 100 townhouses.
The new approval will allow the office space to include medical use.
“When the project was originally approved, professional office space is what was requested,” Growth Management Director Bob Basehart said.
He explained that medical office space and professional office space are distinctly different in Wellington’s code, necessitating the change. “This application will result in no additional dwelling units and no additional square footage,” Basehart said.
Councilman Matt Willhite asked about the difference between professional office and medical office.
“A professional office is essentially any office space which is non-retail,” Basehart said. “These are uses such as insurance agencies, accountants, architects or engineers. The distinction between that and a medical office is that services provided in a medical office are medically related. This would include chiropractors, doctors of all kinds and other similar uses.”
Willhite said he felt medical office could fall under professional office space, but Basehart said that was a conversation the council would have to have, and then amend the code.
Councilwoman Anne Gerwig asked about the relation between the housing and medical uses. “Will this be senior housing or somehow related?” she asked.
Agent for the applicant Eleanor Halperin said there was no connection between the homes and the medical office space.
Willhite said he was concerned about connectivity between the Wellington Parc site and the adjacent Palomino Park medical site.
“I want to see us work to resolve any issues,” he said. “I think we need to come up with a solution for the traffic. This council has worked very hard to get that traffic light in at Palomino Drive, to have it working and facilitating the safety of vehicles traveling in and out of all of these complexes. I’d just ask that we continue to work together to try to come up with something.”
Vice Mayor Howard Coates echoed Willhite’s concerns, noting that although there was cross-access required on the property, it was not open for public use.
“I wasn’t on the council when they approved the original site plan,” he said. “But I have to believe that the cross-access and the availability of the light was an issue in the overall plan. I don’t know how one of the conditions requiring cross-access was interpreted in a way that you have to provide the cross-access but are not obligated to allow people to use it.”
He said he believed the intent was to link Wellington Parc to the nearby plazas for better traffic flow.
“If that wasn’t the case, then I think we need to change the development order,” he said. “I think cross-access is an important part to developing that property. I think in the long run, it will be safer to give residents who come into your facility the option to go north on State Road 7 by using that traffic light.”
Gerwig said she believed that was the intent as well.
“It was important to get traffic off [SR 7],” she said. “However it happened, it didn’t seem to be done very well. We need to work toward fixing this, but also not make the same mistake in the future.”
Village Attorney Laurie Cohen said that she’s continuing to have conversations about it with the applicant.
But Councilman John Greene said he believes it will take the residents to get the access.
“I think the only way it will get done is through pressure by the residents of those townhouses,” he said. “It’s unfortunate. That traffic light is there to benefit everyone.”
Gerwig made a motion to approve the change to allow medical use. It passed unanimously.