council turns down Bradley Bay appeal
By Eric J. Eakin
Published Jan. 19, 2005
The issue of
whether Bradley Bay Health Center should be allowed to expand last
week moved one step closer to being decided in a court of law.
members unanimously upheld a planning commission recommendation
that the expansion not be allowed.
appeal of the commission's decision to the full council was just
the next step in a journey that will almost surely end up in court.
provisions that allow the expansions of nursing homes and similar
facilities onto contiguous property, even if that property is in
a residential area, Bradley Bay officials had hoped to build a $7-million
expansion that would have featured 84 beds, including 32 in independent-living
commission, however, late last year ruled that the proposed addition
is not a continuation of the existing nursing home because, with
its independent-living suites, it is too much like an apartment
Before a crowd
of more than 60 people, Bradley Bay lawyer Sheldon Berns of the
firm of Berns, Ockner and Greenberg said the proposed facility met
all guidelines for a licensed nursing facility.
Bradley Bay owner John O'Neill at length about the proposed facility
to try and establish that it would be, essentially, an extension
of the existing facility. Berns questioned O'Neill about food service,
the delivery of medicines, housekeeping and other services in an
attempt to establish the similarity of services offered at the existing
facility and in the proposed addition.
Brown of the firm of Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan and Aronoff, who
specializes in health-care issues, tried to explain that the proposed
addition would meet the loose definition of nursing home because
of the services offered and the fact that it would need to be licensed.
"assisted living" has no statutory definition by the state. "Clearly,
this facility is going to require licensure," Brown said. "This
building is designed to provide items of daily living and needs
to be licensed."
he did not think the planning commission had an accurate grasp of
the laws and urged the council members to table the issue until
the commission could be informed of them.
and the laws are clear. This (facility) is in compliance with your
codes," Berns said.
Brian Cruse countered that the nursing home was only allowed to
operate because, 40 years ago, it fell loosely under the definition
of a hospital, which was allowed by zoning ordinances. Since hospital
beds must be approved by the state and the beds in the proposed
facility would not, Cruse said he would vote to uphold the planning
at the city level, and with little room for further negotiation,
it is expected the city will end up defending its decision before
common pleas court sometime in the next few months.