24-hour emergency room proposal in Estero voted down

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The idea of building a 24-hour NCH Healthcare System emergency room in Estero was defeated by a vote of 7 to 0.

The Estero Village Council says they voted down on the NCH emergency room simply because of the zoning and design.

“We felt that it would be really nice to have an NCH ER right here in the area,” Estero resident Jodi Mohle said. “It would be a shame to limit health to one company.”

Lee Health is currently building a 24-hour emergency room at the corner of Coconut Road and Health Center Boulevard. The emergency room is on track for opening later this year.

“Competition is good for everybody, and we welcome NCH coming into Estero, except not on this particular piece of property,” said Village Mayor Jim Boesch. “There are several good sites that would qualify especially in our projected Town Center. A promise for 7-11 limited operation hours was made in 2002 when the applicant applied for this permit and, in my opinion, it would be unfair to break that promise particularly to the Marsh Landing Community.”

NCH had planned to build a 40,000 square foot medical facility off of U.S. 41 near Coconut Point Mall.

More: Residents give mixed reviews to Estero medical center proposal

But after year’s of planning, the council says “NCH’s design and zoning for the emergency room were not compatible. The proposed land wasn’t zoned for a 24-hour facility, and a 64-foot tower wouldn’t match with the aesthetic of Estero.”

“The height concerns me, the 64 feet. I can’t get this vision out of my mind” Estero Village council member Katy Errington said. “Suddenly I had this feeling that I’m in Miami with this large building, and that’s not what we don’t want in Estero.”

“NCH remains committed to having a significant presence in the Estero/Bonita Springs area.  We are focused on providing high quality, five-star medical services to the residents and visitors of southwest Florida,” NCH spokeswoman Debbie Curry said.

The Naples based hospital system does have the option to take the council’s decision to court.

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