The Wellington Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board approved a conditional use for no more than 15,000 square feet of medical offices in the 15.9-acre Village Green Center on Wednesday.
The commercial development, located on the west side of State Road 7 north of Stribling Way, has approval for 56,213 square feet of retail, professional office, restaurant and bank uses.
Principal Planner Cory Lyn Cramer said the medical tenants would be along the western side of the plaza. She said that medical buildings would have the same trip generation criteria and parking formula as retail buildings.
PZA Board Member Paul Adams questioned the parking requirements, saying he felt that medical buildings should require more parking because medical patients generally have to remain in the offices longer than retail clients.
Cramer said that they were following approved parking and traffic requirements to have a medical office in the specific buildings.
PZA Board Chair Carol Coleman asked if there were different criteria for the type of medical office, and Cramer said that she did not think so, but it might be different for a medical office and a hospital.
PZA Board Member Elizabeth Mariaca asked how many practices are planned for the 15,000 square feet.
Cramer said 15,000 square feet was based on the overall approval for the site, and that the predominant use is currently retail. She also pointed out that the plaza has to get specific approval for this because it is in a planned unit development.
“In the other community commercial locations within Wellington, medical office is a permitted use,” she said.
Applicant Trish Holloway of Ward Real Estate said the plaza currently has only 10,000 square feet vacant.
“I wouldn’t be coming and asking for this if there weren’t tenants requesting to come in,” Holloway said, explaining that she has a tenant that she has spent eight months negotiating a lease with for 2,800 square feet.
“They are a pediatric oncology unit out of Miami,” she said. “They have nine locations, and they want to come to Wellington. The lease is hinging on me getting this approval.”
Another client, Urgent Care Medical, wanted 7,500 square feet of space.
“It was taking too long to get through, so they went somewhere else,” Holloway said.
Mariaca asked if there are other pediatric oncologists in that area, and Planning & Zoning Director Bob Basehart said that there are some in the Palomino Park center to the south and on the campus of Wellington Regional Medical Center.
PZA Board Member Kenneth Kopp noted that medical practices tend to ebb and flow. “Basically, you could put anything you want in that 10,000 feet,” Kopp said. “You could change leases, and it could be a completely different practice.”
Coleman added that it could also go back to retail use.
Kopp said he had driven through the plaza. “I didn’t know that there was not a medical facility in the area,” he said.
PZA Board Member George Unger said he felt the request was reasonable as long as it was site specific.
Kopp made a motion to approve the request, which carried 7-0.