AURORA – The Planning Commission accepted for study Nov. 2 an application for a conditional zoning certificate for a medical office with outdoor facilities at 239 E. Garfield Road.
Rebecca Waud of Solon, who operates Good Nature Therapy Services, is looking to open an indoor/outdoor occupational/physical therapy and speech pathology clinic for children on the north side of East Garfield Road just east of Aurora Rose Dance Academy.
The 2-acre property is zoned C-1 Commercial. It is surrounded by residential areas to the north – across the new American Transmission System power line – and commercial areas to the west, south and east.
A public hearing on CZC’s request will be held at the Nov. 16 planning panel meeting at 6:30 p.m.
Waud said her current business is an occupational therapy practice that works with children outdoors in nature. She is looking to expand her occupational therapy services and add physical therapy and speech/language pathology services.
It will serve children with conditions such as autism, ADD, ADHD, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, spina bifida, developmental delays, social/emotional and behavioral disabilities, and visual, gross, fine motor and sensory disabilities.
Waud also said she hopes to offer social groups, camps and partner with local yoga businesses to provide yoga classes for children.
Waud is an occupational therapist with a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University. She will be the managing member of both the business and the LLC that will own the property.
It plans to be open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours in the second half of spring, summer and fall, and limited hours in winter and the first half of spring.
Waud is also requesting a variance to locate a fence on the rear north property line to preserve the trees. The city’s zoning code requires a 10-foot setback when a fence borders a residential neighborhood.
According to landscape designer Eli Frey, the fence will be protected by existing plant material. “This variance will help preserve the trees and provide a more usable, functioning space for the proposed outdoor clinic,” she said.
Waud said that because the business model for Good Nature Therapy Services is built on the concept that nature is beneficial and should be accessible to all people, denying variation would prevent service delivery within the nature-centered model.
She said the variance sought is not substantial and will not affect the character of the neighborhood because the property is close to two daycare centers with outdoor space.
Meanwhile, the 2022 master plan update, as recommended by the master plan review committee, was presented to planning panelists. The city charter requires the master plan to be evaluated every five years.
Master plan reviewers met with city staff and consultants from Envision Group LLC for several months earlier this year.
Panel members included Daisy Ackleford-Smith, Cheryl Dirkman, Margaret Emrick, Mike Kekan, Julie Lazor, Brian Miller, Deborah Scharler, Chris Strecker, and Dale Moravec.
The master plan serves as a guiding document that assesses existing conditions and future needs to provide strategic recommendations for the city’s future.
It covers all aspects of the community, from economic development and land use to transportation and infrastructure improvements, parks and recreation improvements, and historic preservation efforts.
Part of the master plan revision process was a community survey, which consultant Ryan Smalley said about 800 residents completed. He added that it was a much better response than the 2017 General Plan Review Panel.
An Open House was also held during the summer to receive comments from the public.
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