Benton-Stephens residents to discuss proposed long term acute care hospital

The neighborhood association meeting is March 4.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008 | 10:39 a.m. CST; updated 4:00 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — In October, Landmark Hospitals was given permission to build a long-term acute care hospital in Columbia after the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee approved its Certificate of Need application. Jay Burchfield, development consultant for the project, and Landmark representatives looked at more than 20 sites around town and are currently proposing the facility near the Benton-Stephens neighborhood. Residents of Benton-Stephens will be meeting on March 4 to discuss their thoughts on this issue.

Where is it being proposed?

The site is at the northeast corner of the intersection of Alfred Street and Old 63. The 4.73 acre plot of land where the site has been proposed is currently vacant.

What exactly is a long term acute care hospital?

Debbie Taylor, chief executive officer of Landmark Hospitals’ Cape Girardeau facility, said a long term acute care facility can actually be called a critical care hospital. Landmark Hospitals deals with patients who need treatment for wounds, infectious diseases, ventilator weaning, other pulmonary problems and surgical complications.

“A majority of our patients come from the ICU,” Taylor said. “They are really sick and need a lot of acute care.”

The average length of stay for patients is 25 days, and the proposed Columbia hospital would have 42 beds. The most common misconception about the hospital, Taylor said, is that it is a rehab facility or nursing home; it is neither. To learn more, go to

Does the land need to be rezoned?

Yes. Currently, the land is under zoned as R-1 “one family dwelling.” Developers have applied to the city to have the land is rezoned to O-P “planned office.” The company cannot build the facility on the land unless it is rezoned. To learn more about zoning regulations go to

Why are the developers considering that specific location?

Burchfield said that the main goal in selecting a possible site was to find one within close proximity to the medical community that was around four and a half acres. Also, he was looking for a site in which the core infrastructures, such as roads, were already in place, although Burchfield said Landmark will upgrade Alfred Street and existing water lines.

What do the other neighborhood associations think?

Randall Kilgore, chairman of the board of the Country Club Estates Neighborhood Association, said that the neighborhood association is not opposed to the long term acute care hospital, but a majority of the members are opposed to the rezoning of the land.

On Feb. 10, the association met and voted on whether they supported the rezoning. Thirty-six people voted against the rezoning, two were neutral and four supported it.

“We feel rezoning would take away from the overall historic natural character and personality of the neighborhood,” Kilgore said.

Kilgore noted that two houses located within the neighborhood, along with the country club, have at one point been named one of Columbia’s notable properties.

Nancy Burnett of the East Walnut Neighborhood Association said in an e-mail that the neighborhood association is not very active, but supports what the Country Club Estates Neighborhood Association thinks is best for the neighborhood.

What’s next?

A public hearing will be scheduled with the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission. At the meeting, the commission will make a recommendation to the City Council of whether the land should be rezoned. The commission might also decide to continue the hearing at a later date. After the Planning Commission makes its decision, the City Council will have a public hearing where it will make the final decision.

How can I voice my opinion on this?

The Benton-Stephens Neighborhood Association is meeting at 7 p.m. on March 4 to discuss the issue. The location for the meeting has yet to be determined, though you can go to for more information.

In addition, anyone can attend the public hearings with the Planning Committee and City Council. Those meeting dates have yet to be set.

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Randall Kilgore February 26, 2008 | 11:39 a.m.

It is important to note that the consensus of the members in the Country Club Estates Neighborhood Association oppose the rezoning of the trat of land under consideration by Landmark Hospitals for the purposes of building an LTACH facility. While we all support such a facility being in Columbia and Boone County, serving the needs of such patients and families needing these services, we do not support the rezoning of the land for development that is not R-1. The historic character of the neighborhood is viewed as important to preservationists as now 3 "Notable" properties are identified in this area. Other concerns for future development are clear to neighbor members of the Association.

(Report Comment)
John M. Nowell, III February 26, 2008 | 1:45 p.m.

Who owns the land?

(Report Comment)
Kip Kendrick February 26, 2008 | 5:27 p.m.

The location of the Benton Stephens Neighborhood meeting will be at the Benton Elementary School Library on March 4th at 7pm

(Report Comment)
Dan Peery March 7, 2008 | 10:37 p.m.

Private Property Rights in the Balance

This may be the rub on this issue and other land use issues in our town. Do we preserve or conserve? How do we balance with private property rights?
While I certainly respect the position of the Country Club Estates Neighborhood Association (CCENA), and as Mr. Kilgore stated in his post, “The historic character of the neighborhood is viewed as important to preservationists as now 3 "Notable" properties are identified in this area.”
The Preservationist (“…viewed as important…”) approach would lean toward making as little change as possible. Therefore, improvements such as increased energy efficiency or other updates would not/should not be made to these homes or the neighborhood. The Conservation approach would lean toward what it can do within its historical context. (please see link to definitions below)
As the land sits with its current zoning, single-family houses could be built on it. Logic would say those houses would not be built to the same value as the existing homes in the CCENA neighborhood - no preservation with this approach but apparently a little conservation. True preservation would have nothing done to the property. Thus, a developmental in-holding and an unauthorized park like vacant property unpaid by the CCENA beneficiaries – forever.
Another possibility, if the City enacts the recommendations of the recent Affordable Housing Task Force, the property likely could be platted with smaller lots, higher density affordable housing - no preservation to this approach and a little conservation.
The proposed project is single use rezoning (O-P), for a professional medical facility. Again, no preservation but I would argue greater conservation for CCENA, other nearby neighborhoods and the City as a whole. Also consider the private property rights and the responsibilities of the Trustees to make prudent use of the Trust’s assets.
At it’s last meeting, the Benton-Stephens Neighborhood Association approved supporting the project with eight votes for, one against and four votes no position. East Walnut Neighborhood Association apparently went along with whatever CCENA did with little to no consideration.
The benefits are clear if you can see past a preservationist viewpoint. The project would go a long way toward stabilizing and improving a changing section of town, conserving resources by utilizing a developmental in-holding with relatively little infrastructure improvement needed, reduce urban sprawl, eliminate billboard blight, improve storm water drainage and provide a needed resource for the greater community.
...Preservationist view...making as little change as possible...Conservationists...view... an instrumental value...look for what it can do.

(Report Comment)

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