What Happened to the Apartments? - TribPapers

What Happened to the Apartments?

Artist rendering of the new hospital planned by AdventHealth. Screenshot from AdventHealth website.

Weaverville – It is emotional whiplash for a community that was expecting an apartment complex but is now getting a hospital. That’s what neighbors of the proposed Advent Hospital feel about learning about the change to a property located off of 25/70 and Ollie Weaver Road next to the Southern Concrete Plant in Weaverville.

According to a press release, the property “will be home to the multispecialty hospital [that] AdventHealth received approval to build through the state’s certificate of need (CON) application process in 2022.”

“The new owner of the properties in question is Advent Health Asheville, LLC, who acquired the properties back in February,” said James Eller, Weaverville Town Planner, when asked about the new owners and when they acquired the property. “It is accurate that an apartment complex had been approved for the properties which are currently zoned R-3.”

Asked if Advent had any additional hoops to jump through in order to make the hospital a reality, Eller said, “In order to accommodate the development of a medical facility, a zoning map amendment will be required. Such a zoning map amendment will be viewed by the planning board, who will offer a recommendation to the town council on the amendment. Town council will be required to hold a public hearing on the zoning map amendment prior to a vote.”

Asked what the timeline looks like for the town moving forward on such an amendment, Eller told the Tribune, “I do not have a time frame for when a potential zoning map amendment may reach town council at this time. What I can add is that zoning map amendments typically take three months to run through the process once an application is received. At this time, the town does not have an application for a zoning map amendment or plans for the proposed project.”

In the press release from AdventHealth, government officials quickly welcomed Advent’s project. “AdventHealth is known for its excellent patient-centered care,” stated Buncombe County Commissioner Amanda Edwards. “Their new hospital will provide a high-quality, professional health care option for residents in Buncombe County and our neighbors across county lines.”

“Weaverville is pleased to welcome AdventHealth to town, and that very much needed health care services are on their way to north Buncombe, Madison and Yancey Counties,” stated Patrick Fitzsimmons, Weaverville Mayor.

However, the Tribune put more in-depth questions to local leaders in Weaverville this week, asking a number of questions, but the only one to respond was Weaverville Mayor Patrick Fitzsimmons, and here is his response:

Q: What is the primary purpose or objective of building a hospital in our community?
A: The hospital received a certificate of need to provide services for Buncombe, Madison, and Yancey counties. The Weaverville location is convenient to these areas.

Q: What specific healthcare needs or gaps in services will this hospital address?
A: There is a dearth of medical services in north Buncombe, Madison, and Yancey counties. These counties also have a high average age and a growing population.

Q: What economic benefits do government officials anticipate the hospital will bring to the community?
A: The hospital will employ several hundred young professionals, many of whom will move to our area. Other companies that want to do business with the hospital may choose to locate close by.

Q: How will the construction of the hospital impact local infrastructure, traffic patterns, and the surrounding environment?
A: The hospital will likely require changes to traffic patterns and road design. The full impact of construction is not fully known yet.

Q: Are there any potential risks or challenges associated with building a hospital in our community, and if so, how will they be addressed?
A: The benefits of having medical services in an underserved area will outweigh any challenges.

Editor’s note: The Tribune contacted Victoria Dunkle with AdvantHealth with several questions, but she did not respond until after the deadline. We hope to have that part of the story for next week.