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Beloit Health System Appeals City’s Decision on Ortho Illinois Zoning

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Beloit Health System (BHS) and its CEO recently appealed the decision by the City of Beloit to disregard the required process under the City’s Zoning Ordinance. The City’s reversal of this zoning process is inconsistent with a culmination of the City’s prior interpretation of the ordinance, the language stated in the ordinance, and the Plan Commission’s decision to not recommend the project to the City Council for approval. BHS is not in agreement with this decision, nor does it agree that it is in the best interest of the community. The health system has appealed the decision to the City of Beloit Board of Appeals. The Board of Appeals is scheduled to meet on February 9, 2021.

The City Staff’s action removed the decision of whether Ortho Illinois’ mini-hospital should be permitted in the Gateway Business Park from the realm of Beloit’s public officials, who should consider such decisions at hearings open to the public. When the City Staff first reviewed the project they appropriately determined that the project should be subject to a conditional use permit. This conditional use was reviewed by the Plan Commission at a public hearing and they voted to not recommend the project for approval to the City Council. After the public hearing, the City Staff changed its mind that a conditional use permit was required and decided to approve the project without following the conditional use process which requires review by the City Council. This change of position is indicative of the City’s unwillingness to be transparent related to these proceedings and to follow the ordinance. These actions indicate that the City’s decision represents its will and not its judgment.

BHS takes care of the community regardless of any resident’s ability to pay. BHS provides 24/7, 365 Emergency Room coverage for the Community. Most recently, BHS converted a wing of the Hospital to a COVID Unit. Nurses and doctors are providing heroic efforts working to keep the Community safe during this Public Health crisis. This level of care and commitment will not be provided by the proposed Ortho Illinois “mini-hospital.”

“Since the start of COVID crisis, the Health System has been proud and humbled to take care of our Community. We have provided care for over 400 inpatients, testing for 25,000 Community members, and close to 5,000 vaccinations since we started providing vaccines in late December. We are the city’s largest employer with deep roots in the Community. Our top priority is, has, and will always be to provide the safest, best care for our community,” stated Tim McKevett, President and CEO.