WellStar Rezoning Proposal Gives Cherokee County Heartburn
The Cherokee County Commission has drafted a letter to express reservations about WellStar Health System's proposal to build a health park and hospital in Holly Springs.
The Cherokee County Commission is weighing in on a Marietta-based health company's proposal to build a health park and hospital in Holly Springs.
Cherokee County Chairman Buzz Ahrens, on behalf of the commissioners, has drafted a letter outlining its concerns about a request from WellStar for the city to rezone 62 acres at the southwest corner of Sixes Road at Interstate 575 from general commercial and mixed use to entirely general commercial.
WellStar has also requested to obtain a conditional use permit to operate an institution similar to a hospital and a hospice facility or personal care home.
If approved, WellStar would like to build the health park first and follow up with a hospital within the next seven to 10 years. The hospice would be built based upon future customer or service demand.
The letter was penned on Friday to the Holly Springs mayor and city council members, who will be voting on the proposal during its meeting on March 18.
The county stipulates:
- that the area is primarily for residential development and projects the future usage of areas that aren't suitable for residential dwellings would be office or institutional developments. Allowing a "full-blown" commercial or 24-hour operation would disrupt the quiet atmosphere residents currently enjoy.
- traffic congestion could become an issue, as well as the use of 24/7 emergency vehicles transportation could also be "disruptive."
- if approved, the development would remove a piece of "high value property" from the county's tax digest "by virtue of seeking a tax exempt usage by the hospital."
- the Holly Springs' land use ordinances are "unclear" as to what uses are available under the proposed rezoning. Furthermore, there's no guarantee that WellStar would not develop the property as they've yet to obtain a Certificate of Need review.
- a Developments of Regional Impact study should be conducted.
- WellStar has not submitted any market studies that would reflect supply and demand for medical services in the area.
"While the county is mindful of the city's sovereign right to make the land use decisions associated with these applications, the county felt compelled to make its concerns known in support of the integrity of the county's land use plans and in response to the numerous calls for concern that we are receiving from citizens in the area," Cherokee County Commission Chair Buzz Ahrens writes in the letter.
See the attached .PDF to read the letter.