Bucks County Herald

St. Luke Health Network expansion hearing continued

New hospital proposed at Route 663 and Portzer Road

MELINDA RIZZO

A public hearing packed the meeting room at Milford Township, Bucks County, Wednesday night, as neighbors listened to details of a proposed hospital campus adjacent to their development.

After several hours of testimony and questions from the public, officials for St. Luke University Health Network left empty handed. “The meeting will be continued,” said Bob Mansfield, mid-way through the roughly four-hour meeting and after hearing about two and a half hours of testimony and questions.

Milford officials confirmed the public hearing would be continued to the next regular business meeting July 18.

Officials for St. Luke’s University Health Network and St. Luke’s Quakertown Campus sought conditional approval as well as preliminary and final land development approval for a three-story, roughly 120,000-square-foot new hospital, surgical and emergency department center located on about 30 acres bounded by Route 663 and Portzer Road.

St. Luke’s Quakertown President Ed Nawrocki said the approximately $50 million new facility would bring about 200 additional jobs to the area. St. Luke’s Quakertown currently employs about 400 people.

The proposed hospital would accommodate 545 parking spaces, but only 257 would be built initially. It was described as a surgical and emergency department building with 80 in-patient beds and radiology services, among other medical services.
Significant public improvements to Route 663 included a new traffic light and the road widening to five lanes, acceleration and deceleration lanes in and out of the property and back onto Route 663, site improvements, buffering and landscaping, among others.

“Thou shalt not mess with Route 663, and that’s exactly what you are proposing to do,” said Supervisor Charlie Strunk, when the plan indicated some of the road improvements would not be accommodated immediately.

At the meeting, officials for St. Luke’s pledged to complete all public improvements required for their site, or provide financial security for completion at a future time.

Noise from incoming emergency vehicles, traffic stacking, congestion, new school bus routes and access were all concerns of Blackledge Estates residents. A single-family home development would be immediately adjacent to the new hospital campus.

“About 90 percent of the traffic would come from the east and west, and about another 10 percent would come from the north, which is what we are currently seeing,” Nawrocki said.

Most of the residents attending the meeting live either in Blackledge Estates or on Portzer Road.

Blackledge Estates is listed as a premiere home community. A recent Zillow real estate search shows a four-bedroom, five- bath, 5,160-square-foot home, which is not currently for sale or rent had an estimated value of $749,654.

St. Luke’s has operated a community hospital in Quakertown Borough since 1930. Once the new facility is built, the former hospital would be converted to administration and physician’s officers, St. Luke’s officials said in a earlier phone interview.

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