Keller City Council tabled further discussion on a proposed 24-hour emergency care facility in Town Center after a heavily-attended meeting May 6.Keller E-Care, a 10,260-square-foot stand-alone emergency room facility, was proposed for the south side of Keller Parkway west of Country Brook Drive.The property was platted in 2006 as part of a Council-approved site plan for phase one of Uptown at Keller Town Center. Some construction finished in 2008 but the proposed medical building was not, community development manager Tom Elgin said.A specific use permit was approved for First Choice ER in 2011 but was given a two-year extension in July 2012, Elgin said. Keller E-Care submitted a specific use permit after First Choice ER stopped pursuing development.Residents were concerned with the noise that would come with a 24-hour medical facility, including the sounds of traffic, ambulances and bright lights shining through their windows.“We’re not talking about putting a 24-hour business near our neighborhood, it’s in our neighborhood,” resident Joseph Schweitzer said. “You were concerned about a drive thru [in Town Center] but that closes at 10 or 11 at night. An ambulance can drive around all night.”But, North Richland Hills E-Care medical director Josh Prickett said the ambulances wouldn’t be an issue.“There’s no reason to have on sirens in the Town Center area,” he said. “Not until the ambulance is on a busy road and needs to clear traffic. In the 19 months the North Richland Hills facility has been open we haven’t had an issue with that.”Other residents were concerned with how a 24-hour facility would impact the real estate value of their homes and that the design of the facility doesn’t fit in with the rest of Town Center.“We were the first residents [in the 200-foot buffer area] and now it’s developed into a beautiful neighborhood,” resident Carl Johnson said. “I think some of those thoughts and plans made earlier were before any of us could visualize what the area could be.”According to the report, the nearby homes were built after the specific use permit for the facility was in place.Council will resume discussion on the facility after the developer meets with residents to discuss a possible compromise.
Taylor Prater, 817-390-7964 Twitter: @taylornprater