Holly Springs votes no on WellStar facility expansion
by Joshua Sharpe and Megan Thornton
March 20, 2013 11:59 PM | 2754 views | 6 6 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After weeks of hearing arguments from WellStar Kennestone, Northside Cherokee and concerned residents, the Holly Springs City Council on Monday blocked WellStar’s request to expand operations to the city, as a standing-room-only crowd of more than 50 looked on.

The council voted unanimously Monday with Karen Barnett abstaining to deny a request for a conditional use permit that would have allowed a hospital and hospice facility on the property at the corner of Sixes Road and Interstate 575.

Many attendees at the council meeting wore “Northside” stickers on their shirts in support of the WellStar competitor.

Two requests from WellStar were on the docket for the council’s meeting Monday: a request to rezone a 62-acre plot of land at the intersection of Interstate 575 and Sixes Road and one to grant the Marietta-based health care group a conditional use permit to construct a hospital and hospice facility there.

The council voted to accept WellStar’s request to rezone the land from general commercial and mixed use to entirely general commercial, which would allow all of the proposed facilities to be constructed there. But the vote to grant a permit for WellStar to construct a hospital or similar institution and a nursing/personal care home resulted in a unanimous decision to deny from the four council members voting.

In addition, the council had no discussion on why they chose to deny WellStar’s request for a conditional use permit. A motion was made to deny the request and the council voted without any discussion.

Russ Davis, spokesperson for Northside Hospital-Cherokee, said in an emailed statement Tuesday that the hospital is pleased by the council’s vote.

“The residents of Cherokee County are well served by Northside Hospital-Cherokee, the many current outpatient service locations, and those opening in the near future,” Davis said. “We are appreciative of the many Cherokee residents who remain so supportive of their local community hospital.”

Keith Bowermaster, spokesman for WellStar Kennestone, said in an emailed statement Tuesday that his company was “disappointed” with the decision.

“We believe this is the right project at the right location and at the right time, and the denial is a loss for the citizens of Holly Springs and Cherokee County,” Bowermaster said.

City Manager Rob Logan said the denial of the conditional use permit doesn’t necessarily spell the end for WellStar at that Holly Springs site, as they could still build a medical office building there without a conditional use permit.

Bowermaster said WellStar is considering its options.

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JB Lewis
March 21, 2013
What's with those people up there? They turn down a hospital and a HOSPICE??

What a bunch of thoughtless cads. What possible harm could a hospice do? What's the local custom in Cherokee county for the terminally ill, putting them out to pasture to die?
March 21, 2013
Just more Cherokee county backwater politics. They protect their own up there at any cost, you know.

What a great success story cherokee county and Folly Springs can feature in their next economic development brochure!! Millions in capital investment and thousands of jobs turned away. That'll have businesses waiting in line to locate there for sure.

Hey, instead of a nice clean business like a medical center, maybe they could have a taxpayer funded mulch grinding operation. No... Wait. The last time they tried that it didn't work out so well. Good luck up there folks.
Makes perfect sense
March 21, 2013
So having a successful healthcare system expand and offer additional services to the community is a bad thing now? And Northside expanding and having a monopoly at Holly Springs is a good thing? And a city council can dictate to a business that it can't set up shop, but not give a reason why. Makes perfect sense???
March 21, 2013
Seen enough in Cherokee. The council obviously succumbed to political pressure from Northside and its cronies in county government.
March 21, 2013
It sounds like Holly Springs has got Wellstar pegged as a Deathstar.

Will Cobb ever be as smart as Holly Springs? Or will we encourage the infinite expansion of Wellstar?
March 21, 2013
It would really be interesting to get Piedmont into the competitive mix!
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