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Angel Medical Center project moves forward

Officials with Angel Medical Center recently presented their plans for the replacement hospital set to be constructed off U.S. 441 in Franklin. Officials with Angel Medical Center recently presented their plans for the replacement hospital set to be constructed off U.S. 441 in Franklin.

Plans to construct a new Angel Medical Center in Franklin moved forward last week after the town planning board approved a special-use permit for the replacement hospital. 

Hospital administration had to apply for a special-use permit because the new hospital — to be constructed at the intersection of U.S. 441 and Hunnicut Lane — will be larger than what is typically allowed under the town’s Commercial 3 zoning classification. 

According to the application, “Since multiple services and care options will be made available, the building needs to be larger than 30,000 square feet of gross floor area. For this reason a special-use permit is being requested.”

Plans for the $45 million, 82,500-square-foot replacement hospital have been in the works for the last couple of years under Mission Health, but when Mission sold to for-profit HCA Healthcare the new owner committed to continue with those plans. 

HCA is under contract with Entegra Bank to purchase about 13 acres to build the new critical access hospital to replace the aging Angel Medical Center facility located on Riverview Street closer to downtown. The current facility is over 60 years old and many of the patient rooms aren’t large enough to accommodate modern technology needs. HCA has not indicated how the old hospital building will be used in the future or whether it will be sold. 

Early plans for the replacement hospital included no more than 30 acute care beds, three shared operating rooms, five intensive care unit rooms, 16 emergency department rooms and one gastrointestinal endoscopy procedure room. The plans also include space for 134 parking spots. The new hospital will not include plans for a labor and delivery unit — a service Mission decided to discontinue in July, 2017.

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To receive a special-use permit, a neighborhood compatibility meeting with neighbors within 400 feet of the property was held. While people had lots of questions and suggestions, Town Planner Justin Setzer said there were no major concerns. 

Then the planning board has to ensure the project meets five “Finds of Fact” before approving the permit:

a) The use or development is located, designed, and proposed to be operated so as to maintain or promote the public health, safety, and general welfare. 

b) There are, or will be at the time they are required, adequate public facilities to serve the use or development as specific in 152.060, below. 

c) The use or development complies with all required regulations and standards of this chapter or with variances thereto, if any, granted pursuant to division (S), below, and with all other applicable regulations.

d) The use or development is located, designed, and proposed to be operated so as to be compatible with the particular neighborhood in which it is to be located. 

e) The use or development conforms with the general plans for the physical development of the town as embodied in this chapter, the Principles of Growth, the Thoroughfare Plan, and any other duly adopted plans of the town.

The planning board unanimously approved the permit for HCA, but the Franklin Town Council will still have to give final approval at a future meeting. 

Going through the town’s special permit process is one of the final steps before the land acquisition is complete and construction plans get under way. However, the new hospital is not estimated to be completed until 2022. 

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