COLUMBIA — Eight of 13 Benton-Stephens residents voted to support the rezoning of land for a proposed long-term acute care hospital at a neighborhood association meeting Tuesday night. One resident voted against the rezoning and four were neutral.
The tract of land is located at the northeast corner of Alfred Street and Old 63. It is currently zoned as R-1 and developers have applied to the city to have the land rezoned to O-P.
Frederick Schmidt, president of the Benton-Stephens Neighborhood Association, said the association now plans on writing a letter to the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission summarizing the sentiments of the residents. Planning and Zoning is scheduled to hold a public hearing regarding the issue at 7 p.m. March 20.
Landmark Hospital of Columbia has been proposed for a 4.73-acre tract of land near the neighborhood. The 42-bed facility would admit patients from surrounding hospitals in need of further care. In order to go through with this construction, the land will need to be rezoned.
At the meeting, residents expressed concern about extra light emitting from the facility, traffic increases and what impact the hospital could have on the future development of land in the area, among other things. However, several of the residents in attendance also saw benefits to supporting the rezoning.
“I live nearly across the street, and I fully support it,” Dan Peery said. “I see it as an opportunity to gain more land use control with the rezoning than with the current zoning.”
If the City Council ultimately votes in favor of the rezoning, the land would only be able to be used for the long-term acute care hospital, development consultant Jay Burchfield said.
The land is owned by the Berry McAlester Estate, and George Crawford is the trustee. His son and daughter, Mark and Elizabeth Crawford, have a contract to purchase 10.79 acres of land between Alfred Street and McAlester Street from the trust. Their company, Crawford Construction, is the general contractor for the hospital. They are requesting that only 4.73 acres of the land where the hospital is proposed be rezoned to O-P; the rest of the land will remain R-1. Elizabeth Crawford said the hospital will own the 4.73 acres of land. She and her brother have no current plans for their land that is not included in the rezoning request, she said.