BELOIT—Beloit Health System has filed an appeal against the City of Beloit’s decision to approve a proposed surgery center which OrthoIllinois is planning to build on Freeman Parkway.
The City of Beloit Community Development Department approved site plans for the $19 million project at 2102 Freeman Parkway earlier this year, granting an architectural review and zoning compliance certificates.
In a statement, Beloit Health System CEO Tim McKevett said the health system was appealing the city zoning officer’s recent decision for various reasons. McKevett cited the project needed licensing by the State of Wisconsin unrelated to the city’s approval; and that the project was “inconsistent with the city’s comprehensive land use plan.”
“Allowing special permission and zoning accommodations for this private developer, is a detriment to the community,” McKevett said. “Our top priority is, has, and will always be to provide the safest, best care for our community.”
In the statement, McKevett said the health system was “seeking clarification, transparency and equality” related to its appeal.
As previously reported by the Beloit Daily News, OrthoIllinois previously attempted to move to Beloit after plans for a surgery center were announced in the Gateway Business Park in late 2020. What followed was a contentious fight over the zoning code in the face of strong opposition by the health system. Ultimately OrthoIllinois withdrew its Gateway proposal in favor of the Freeman Parkway site. The issue has gone through various meetings of the Beloit City Council, Beloit Plan Commission and Beloit Board of Appeals.
If completed, the project would include a 26,571-square-foot medical facility including an ambulatory surgery center building and various site amenities typical of commercial development from parking to stormwater management. The project would be called “OrthoWisconsin” and be the company’s first venture in the state. Construction is expected to wrap up by 2023 with the center expected to be operational in the middle of next year for a late spring, early summer opening.
In response to the appeal, Beloit City Manager Lori Curtis Luther said the project was approved by the city due to its adequate zoning in a C-3 commercial area. Luther said no special permission or zoning accommodations were being made, and agreed with the health system that licensing for medical facilities is handled by the State of Wisconsin.
“The city always supports transparency in government and follows all rules and regulations regarding public input into the planning and development process,” Luther said.
OrthIllinois CEO Anthony Brown could not be reached for comment as of press time on Tuesday.