Enloe withdraws request for rezone

Hours before it was to go before the Chico City Council, Enloe Medical Center withdrew a request to bring its mail room/print shop building into legal conformity by rezoning the property it sits on from residential to public/quasi-public.

For two years Enloe, which for the most part is located in a residential neighborhood west of The Esplanade between Fourth and Seventh avenues, has used the house at 249 West Sixth St. as a print and mail shop, even though the land it sits on is zoned single-family residential. The illegal use by Enloe was brought to the city’s attention by a neighbor’s complaint earlier this year, and on May 2 the matter went before the Planning Commission.

At that meeting, neighbors voiced opposition to allowing the rezone and submitted a petition that said the hospital is growing and encroaching on the existing neighborhood. Enloe has announced plans to expand but has yet to share those plans with the city or the neighbors.

“No further zoning changes or building permits should be approved without public input on the entire Enloe Hospital Master Plan, including review of increased helicopter flights and ambulance dispatch routes,” the petition says.

Enloe’s emergency helicopter service is stationed on the roof of the main hospital building.

The petition, with about two dozen signatures, says the undersigned “support a growth plan that protects our neighborhood school Citrus and keeps residential living as the center of the neighborhood plan.”

Neighbor Marvin Davidson wrote in a letter to the commission that “Enloe is a fine medical facility that has lost focus of its goals to serve its community, instead it has become just another business that is more interested in expansion than service.”

When it came before them, the Planning Commission members said they would like to see the master plan before voting but went ahead anyway and approved a use permit for the shop and mail room. The use permit was contingent upon approval by the City Council, which was to take the matter up at its July 16 meeting. Now Enloe say it will move the print service to another location that will be determined within the next 60 days.

“We sincerely regret the inconvenience that this zoning issue may have caused,” Enloe COO Dan Neumeister stated in a press release. “Rather than take a piecemeal approach, it makes logical sense that we review the zoning of the property in question within the context of our entire Master Site Plan, especially since we expect to be ready to present the plan in just a few months.”

The press release goes on to say Enloe will hold a public meeting for neighborhood input on Sept. 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the Esplanade Conference Center.