Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat

PUBLIC MEETING: Sonora Planning Commission, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, 94 N. Washington St., Sonora.

Sonora Regional Medical Center is literally looking down the road to build a large extension that would include a cancer treatment center and other medical offices.

According to a proposal submitted to the City of Sonora, that extension would be built on the same property where the former Andy's Hardware store was located at the corner of Greenley Road and Mono Way.

The main hospital is at 1000 Greenley Road.

The proposal calls for demolishing the former hardware store, which the hospital is currently using, and building a three-story, 63,500-square-foot medical building with access from both Greenley Road and Mono Way.

The Sonora Planning Commission will consider the site plan, as well as requests by Sonora Regional for the city to grant exceptions to its rules for parking, building height and sign size for the project.

"Our plan is to tear down the existing building, because we can't have a cancer center in a hardware store," said hospital spokeswoman Gail Witzlsteiner.

The cancer center will be located on the first floor, Witzlsteiner said, along with new radiation treatment equipment and increased space for the cancer treatment staff and for chemotherapy.

The second floor will likely be used to house orthopedic surgeons and rehabilitative services, and the use for the third floor is still open, she said.

The hospital bought the property last July with the goal of building a cancer center and medical pavillion and has since been using the former retail building for training and other uses.

Adjacent businesses on the property will be relocated, according to the application, except for the gas station and mini mart on the corner of Greenley Road and Mono Way.

The plan calls for building the center on the northeast corner of the property, with the remainder of the land made up of parking and landscaping. The hospital will ask the city to make a number of exceptions to its building rules for the new campus, including:

• A parking count of 4.2 spaces per 1,000 square feet, down from five spaces per 1,000 feet.

• A building height of 53 feet, which would exceed the current 35-foot limit for city buildings.

• A 140-square-foot wall sign and two 64-square-foot monument signs at the entrances, which would exceed the local rule of 90 maximum square feet for wall signs and 34 feet for frontage signs.

City staff is recommending the Sonora Planning Commission accept the application and all the requested exceptions, except the one for monument signs.

Witzlsteiner said hospital officials are still working on financing for the project, but are estimating work could begin in 2014.