Planning Board OKs hospice plan
By Emily Ford
About 90 people stood up Monday to show their support for the hospice facility Rowan Regional Medical Center plans to develop on Statesville Boulevard.
They applauded when the Salisbury Planning Board unanimously approved a zoning amendment to allow the 14-bed hospice facility, the first in Rowan County.
No one spoke in opposition.
The hospital must ask City Council for a final nod.
“Our hospice house will give these patients as much comfort and joy as possible during their last days,” said Edwina Ritchie, director of Hospice Services at Rowan Regional Medical Center.
Planning Board members Carl Repsher and Bill Wagoner recused themselves because they serve on the hospital board.
John Whitfield’s home will adjoin a required 70-foot buffer of existing vegetation running for 300 feet along the southern end of the six-acre hospice site, now vacant.
Whitfield said he opposed an apartment complex previously planned for the property but supports hospice as a good fit for the neighborhood.
“It will be a pleasant location where terminally ill people will have a chance to live out their days in a quiet and peaceful setting,” Whitfield said.
Planning Board retained the existing Residential Mixed Use zoning classification and amended the Conditional District Overlay to allow for development of the 15,287-square-foot facility. The hospice site plan includes an option to expand by about 5,000 square feet and 12 beds.
Milbrook Medical Park LLC, owned by Tom Loeblein, Stan Jordan and Todd Dagenhart, owns the property. The hospital has an option to buy.
“We believe the architecture of this building fits in very nicely with the neighborhood,” City Planner Preston Mitchell said.
A hospice house has been a dream for the hospital for nearly 30 years, said Rick Parker, senior director of professional and support services for Rowan Regional Medical Center.
Now, people seeking hospice care must leave Rowan County to get it.
“We believe that people facing death should have every chance to live their final days as comfortably as possible, free of pain yet alert, their hours filled with meaning and their self-esteem intact,” Ritchie said.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.