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 landmarkhospitals.com
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 gocolumbiamo.com/Planning/Zoning/zone_sum.php
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.
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 bsca.missouri.org/ 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.