A plan for a nursing home near Tuller Road and Riverside Drive received favorable reviews from Dublin City Council, but drew debate on nearby traffic.

A plan for a nursing home near Tuller Road and Riverside Drive received favorable reviews from Dublin City Council, but drew debate on nearby traffic.

Council members last week heard the first reading of the rezoning - from community commercial to a planned-unit-development district - of about 6 acres on the southwest corner of Tuller Road and Tuller Ridge Drive. The rezoning also included a preliminary development plan for a 122,000-square-foot skilled-nursing facility on the undeveloped land.

Jack Reynolds, representing applicant Al Vrable, said the proposed building is a $15-million investment that could bring 130 to 150 jobs to Dublin.

"This offers things ready for a new generation of skilled nursing care that will meet needs," Vrable said, noting that the building will limit barriers by providing residents with nearby dining rooms and other amenities to get them moving. "You encourage more ambulation, you encourage more independence."

The proposed nursing home also would include at least 15 full-time therapists, rehabilitation and a hospice wing.

The proposal includes two new public streets, "one extending north to south from Tuller Road along the western property line, and a second extending east to west between Tuller Ridge and Riverside drives along the southern property line," the staff report to council said.

While council supported the rezoning and development proposal, a plan to turn Tuller Road into a right-in and right-out road from Riverside Drive spurred debate.

"I don't feel comfortable closing off Tuller Road," council member Cathy Boring said. "I will not support changing that traffic flow until we have an east-west connector."

According to city engineer Paul Hammersmith, Tuller Road would only allow right turns onto Riverside Drive because of vehicle stacking that occurs on Riverside Drive for left turns onto Emerald Parkway.

"Our motivation is to help the operations aspect along Riverside Drive," he said.

Some council members were worried the change could make getting around Dublin more difficult, but Vice Mayor Amy Salay said they should concentrate on safety, as the intersection of Emerald Parkway and Riverside Drive has a history of traffic accidents."We should look at it overall and think big picture," she said.

Land acquisition for the eighth and final phase of Emerald Parkway is under way, and Hammersmith said improvements are planned at the intersection during the work.

"We end up with some modifications to that intersection with that project," he said, adding that more vehicle stacking for left turns from Riverside Drive to Emerald Parkway could be added if Tuller Road was closed.

Council members agreed that they have no problem with the proposed nursing home, but want staff members to return with more information on traffic and road plans for the area.

"We should be careful of unintended consequences," Michael Keenan said.

The nursing home rezoning and preliminary development plan will go before council for a second reading and vote Feb. 27.