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Huntersville board rejects mental health hospital, 4-2

The hospital was proposed off NC 115 at Verhoeff Road, south of downtown Huntersville.

The hospital was proposed off NC 115 at Verhoeff Road, south of downtown Huntersville.

Huntersville’s Town Board on Monday voted down a rezoning request that would have allowed Carolinas HealthCare System to build a mental health hospital on N.C. 115. Our news partner WFAE-FM reports Huntersville commissioners voted 4-2 against the request amid opposition from neighbors.

State officials last fall had approved plans for the $33 million, 66-bed psychiatric hospital on N.C. 115 at Verhoeff Drive, near CHC’s Huntersville Oaks Nursing Home.

The hospital system had said the state-permitted beds were to be transferred from in-patient psychiatric beds currently at Broughton Hospital in Morganton.

CHS is requesting zoning approval for as many as 110 beds at the psychiatric hospital, in case the state allows future expansion. Last week, the Huntersville planning commission signed off on the plan.

The new $33 million hospital would have had 155 full-time employees, according to CHS. But residents of nearby neighborhoods opposed the idea.

On Monday night, residents told commissioners they feared bringing mental health patients to Huntersville would compromise the the town’s safety. They also spoke against the project based on the traffic they think it would create.

Mary Beth Kuzmanovich of Carolinas HealthCare said the system currently does not have another site, WCNC-TV reported Monday.

“There is a critical need for this care in this community,” Ms. Kuzmanovich said, according to WCNC. “Those patients will now have to wait longer for additional services,” she said

RELATED COVERAGE & LINKS

March 6, 2012, WCNC.com, “Huntersville votes against psychiatric hospital.”

Get more information and documents related to the project on the Huntersville planning department website.

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