Mission aims to build facility near Swannanoa

MISSION FACILITY ON HIGHWAY 70: During its first meeting of 2018, the Buncombe County Board of Adjustment approved a conditional use permit for Mission Health to build a health care facility along Warren Wilson Road. Map courtesy of Buncombe County

Mission Health plans to build an offsite health care facility on U.S. Highway 70 at Warren Wilson Road near Swannanoa, according to plans approved by the Buncombe County Board of Adjustment on Jan. 10.

“Health care providers are getting away from the big behemoth hospitals and going out into the community so you have less travel time for the folks that you’re going to be serving,” said Derek Allen, an Asheville attorney who presented the application to the board on behalf of Mission Health.

The project, which will be an inpatient facility, will cost $20 million to $25 million and be a maximum of 130,000 square feet and three stories tall. The board had to review the project because the proposed structure is more than 50,000 square feet. According to parking calculations submitted with the permit application, the facility will have enough spaces to accommodate 144 patients, 10 doctors and 60 employees.

“I think it’s an excellent project … certainly the east end of the county needs closer medical facilities,” said board member James Wilson.

Sonya Greck, senior vice president for behavior health, safety net, community investment and facilities at Mission, said in a statement to Xpress that the health system’s plans for the building as well as the type of service it will provide are still in the planning phase.

Charter school moves ahead

The board also gave the go-ahead for a conditional use permit for a charter school and retirement facility on McIntosh Road southwest of Asheville. The project was previously approved in December 2016 but went back before the Board of Adjustment on Jan. 10 because substantive changes were made to the site plan.

“As we continue the space planning, understand the school’s needs, we made some slight modifications to the structure itself,” said Jesse Gardner, an engineer with Civil Design Concepts who spoke on behalf of IC Imagine Holdings LLC. “Site work essentially remained unchanged — just the building envelope and footprint separated and went to two structures.”

The petitioner also requested permission to add temporary classrooms for the 2018-19 school year and to extend the conditional use permit through a statutory vested rights approval of five years, which the board accepted in a vote of 6-1, with board member Keith Levi dissenting. Levi said he liked the project, but wasn’t in favor of approving vested rights.

“I think our ordinances exist for a reason, and particularly with the amount of development, things have a tendency to change and I think there’s a high bar for setting those,” he said.

In other business

The board also approved two variances for a residence on Skycliff Drive and another on Hickory Court. The board also denied a request for a variance that would have permitted an existing retaining wall on properties along Clear Water Trail Road. The wall was built without first obtaining proper permits.

The Board of Adjustment’s next meeting will be Feb. 14.

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About David Floyd
David Floyd is the Buncombe County reporter for the Mountain Xpress. He previously worked as a general-assignment reporter for the Johnson City Press. Email him at dfloyd@mountainx.com.

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