COA for pediatric clinic delayed

Palmetto Pediatric has this semi-circular structure in front of some offices.

BLYTHEWOOD – A 16-foot tall free-standing, semi-circular wall that is the feature of the front entrance to a medical building proposed on Blythewood Road did not get a warm welcome from the town’s Board of Architectural Review (BAR) Monday evening. One board member called it overpowering.

Matt Davis, the architect representing the applicant, Palmetto Pediatric and Adolescent Center, defended the giant curved front entrance structure, explaining that it has become something of a symbol of the Center which has several locations.

“It is used to break up the perception of a non-descript, rectangular hip roof,” Davis said.

While the board generally agreed that the hip roof was ‘plain’ and ‘ugly,’ they had difficulty seeing the curved wall as a solution to the problem.

“The board’s job is not to accommodate the doctors as to how it (the building) looks, but to determine how it looks in our community,” board member Cindy Nord said.

Board members also expressed their dismay with the proposed facility’s landscaping plan that would require taking down all but one of the trees on the property.

The plan, Davis said, is to leave a 24-inch heritage tree in the front and plant 10 canopy trees to include five live oaks and five willow oaks. Dwarf shrubs, crepe myrtle and nandina would round out the landscaping.

Board member Jim McLean shared his concern regarding the proliferation of black asphalt proposed in a front parking lot.

“We need to be careful not to throw away the look of the front to asphalt,” McLean said. “We don’t want to set a precedent we might regret down the road.” He cited other Town Center District (TCD) businesses that were able to design parking accommodations that were to the side or to the rear of their building locations.

“Palmetto is a wonderful group,” McLean assured the applicant, “and we want to work with you.”

Davis explained that the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) requirement for the position of the driveway entrance made parking in the front a necessity since they needed to maintain a 25-foot aisle to allow for cars to pull in and out of spaces. He said Palmetto Pediatric & Adolescent clinics are especially high users of parking due to the large number of staff members required to serve this niche of care.

The board’s architectural advisor, Ralph Walden, made some suggestions for Palmetto Pediatric to consider for rear parking arrangements and for enhancements to the general appearance of the building. He suggested that they consider adding some articulation, additional elevation, dormers or perhaps a gable end to the roof.

After further discussion, a motion was made and passed to remand the application consideration back to the Cohn design team for potential adjustments as a result of the board’s feedback. Board member Alan George, manager of Community Bank in Blythewood, recused himself since Community Bank is financing the project.

This request will be on the agenda for the August 20 BAR meeting.

Related: Pediatric clinic eyes Blythewood

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