Rezoning Request Withdrawn

Published 4:19 pm Thursday, January 13, 2011

FARMVILLE – Citing the importance of being good neighbors, Centra Southside Community Hospital has withdrawn its rezoning request for two properties on High Street.

The letter from Centra President and CEO George W. Dawson and Centra Southside President and CEO Dr. Gwen S. Eddleman states the 900 and 1104 High Street properties will, instead, be used “as permitted by the R1A zoning ordinance.”

The hospital had proposed using them as administrative and billing offices, which would have required zoning action by the Town and generated citizen concerns about the possible impact on the High Street neighborhood if such business uses were allowed.

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“It is important to us that we be a good neighbor and that we consider the concerns of others in the neighborhood as much as possible without compromising the hospital's patient care mission,” they write in the January 11 letter to Town Manager Gerald Spates and members of Farmville's Town Council.

“In addition, we do not wish for this matter to be a distraction for us as we focus on meeting the healthcare needs of our community and region or a distraction for Council as it deals with more important responsibilities,” Dawson and Dr. Eddleman write.

The pair explained that they had believed the proposed business uses “would not be of substantial concern to the neighbors on High Street or to others.”

But during last week's Town Council work session, concerns were expressed by members of council, who also spoke of numerous phone calls from residents regarding the issue.

“At that meeting and since that meeting, we have learned that we were wrong about this and that a number of residents of High Street and the surrounding neighborhood have expressed concern about our request and about the precedent it might set if it was approved by Council,” they explain in the letter.

During last week's work session, there were concerns that amending the R1A zone, or rezoning the property R3, might encourage Longwood University to extend itself up into the High Street neighborhood.

“Some of these concerns have been communicated directly to Centra Southside representatives and we understand that some members of Council have received a number of calls expressing similar reservations,” Dawson and Dr. Eddleman wrote.

At Wednesday night's regular January Town Council meeting, Spates noted the letter and the hospital's withdrawal of the rezoning request, saying the issue had now become “a moot point.”