YMCA of Greater Dayton President and CEO Dale Brunner says the new facility is on a tight deadline because the organization is working toward obtaining tax credits and a financial closing in August.
“My goal is how do I close this and get it done for the community,” he said.
But the zoning administrator said some details of the proposed project do not comply with zoning code and may require variances.
Some members of Dayton’s planning board also voiced concerns about the amount of surface parking, the building’s placement on the site and what will happen in future phases.
The YMCA of Greater Dayton recently submitted preliminary development plans to the city for a nearly 52,000-square-foot facility on the former Good Sam hospital property at 2222 Philadelphia Drive.
The new proposed building and parking lot would take up about 5.3 acres of the roughly 13-acre site, which is largely empty, except for a multi-level parking garage, city staff reports say.
Premier Health closed the hospital facilities in 2018 and knocked them down not long after.
YMCA of Greater Dayton proposes occupying nearly half of the new building with a new full-service club, which will offer a gym and pool.
Premier Health intends to occupy about one-quarter of the space with an urgent care facility, offices and a variety of services.
Other partners that want to have a presence at the facility include United Way of the Greater Dayton Area, Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley, County Corp, CareSource and Wright State University.
At a recent Dayton Plan Board meeting, Phoenix Next shared a vision plan for the former hospital property that includes a new residential building, park and mixed-use development, potentially offering housing, offices and retail uses.
Phoenix Next is a nonprofit and collaborative initiative between the city of Dayton and Premier Health.
Site maps and concept renderings show new buildings on 3 acres of land on the northeast and southwest portions of the property, which has a trapezoid shape.
The proposed new YMCA facility is on the east end of the site, and the parking lot is basically in the middle.
Also, a soccer field and green space are proposed for the southeast corner of the property, at Salem Avenue and Benson Street.
Hundreds of community members and stakeholders provided feedback about what they would like to see at the property, and that input was used to develop priorities and priority outcomes, said Eloise Broner, chief of shared services at Premier Health and chair of the Phoenix Next board.
Community priorities include new jobs, amenities and housing options, as well as leveraging investments, she said.
The goal is to make a walkable site, with a mix of uses and amenities, where people can live and work, said Jamie Greene, principal with planning NEXT, a Columbus-based firm hired to help create a plan for the property.
The Dayton Plan Board recently were given information and a presentation about the proposed redevelopment of the Good Sam site during a work session.
A general development plan is expected to be submitted to the city and board for consideration sometime soon.
Some Dayton Plan Board members questioned why the first phase requires such a large surface parking lot, with about 160 spaces, when a large parking garage already exists.
Brunner said the YMCA needs parking close to its facility, so visiting families and members can get in and out easily and safely.
He also said he met with the other groups that plan to occupy the building to find out how many spaces they need.
Brunner also told the plan board that time is of the essence to get its plans approved because a financial closing for the entire first phase of the project is expected in late August, which includes securing New Market Tax Credits.
But Dayton’s zoning administrator, Carl Daugherty, earlier this month issued a preliminary opinion that says some things about the project do not appear to comply with the city’s zoning code.
This includes a requirement that any buildings with a façade facing a public street generally must have at least one entrance facing a public street. The main entrances face the accessory parking lot.
“The zoning code is pretty clear — main entrances like this are really supposed to connect with street frontages, primarily commercial corridors,” Daugherty told the Dayton Plan Board.
Daugherty also wrote that there has not been an analysis of the projected parking demand submitted for review as required.
Dayton Plan Board member Matt Sauer said it’s difficult for the board to approve a project without knowing for sure what future phases will entail.
He asked about potentially shrinking the amount of parking or re-orienting the building’s placement on the site. He also mentioned possibly shifting some of the internal streets to try to make the proposed parking more palatable.
Plan board members also raised concerns about the location of the soccer field and green space, saying they worry it is dangerously close to a highly-traveled roadway (Salem Avenue).
Plan board Chair Greg Scott said the zoning code is basically law that usually needs to be followed and he’s concerned about what looks to be a number of deficiencies in the proposed plan.
Todd Kinskey, Dayton’s director of planning, neighborhoods and development, said the property has three “front yards,” which complicates figuring out a good way to lay out the site, especially when future users are unknown.
But Kinskey said the new center definitely is consistent with what the community has said it wants at this location.