HEALTH&WELLNESS: Emory Eastside Medical Center planning $100M expansion

SNELLVILLE — Emory Eastside Medical Center in Snellville is in the early stages of planning a $100 million expansion, according to hospital representative Michael Sullivan of law firm Anderson, Tate and Carr. The rezoning of about 51 acres of hospital property is one of the first steps in that expansion.

The parcels of land were zoned for different uses, but the hospital owns all of the land that was rezoned for Civic and Institutional use Monday night. There were questions about some of the specific criteria submitted by the hospital's engineer, including the number and width of parking spaces and sign dimensions, but Sullivan explained that those discrepancies are caused by trying to accommodate existing conditions with planned future conditions. For example, existing parking spaces at the hospital are already 8 feet wide, but the ordinance requires 9-foot-wide spaces.

The hospital's concept plan also shows a six-story tower, but Snellville's ordinance only allows for five story buildings, nothing taller.

Sullivan went on to suggest that if city staff and leaders would work quickly to create a hospital overlay district, those discrepancies could be addressed more efficiently. Oberholtzer, councilman Tod Warner and other council members agreed to work fast to create an overlay district.

"The hospital is the city's biggest employer and a good citizen. I certainly don't want to hold up (expansion)," said Oberholtzer.

Sullivan stated that the hospital is "ready to move on an emergency room expansion now."

Two buildings on Lenora Church Road rezoned for church

Two buildings located at 3005 Lenora Church Road were rezoned Civic and Institutional on Monday, at the request of Canaan Land Church International. Church leaders want to use the buildings for a 300-seat sanctuary, administrative offices, children's classrooms and an after-school-care facility.

The church owns a parcel of land very near the two buildings and planned to build a new church building on that land. Economic conditions, however, prevented them from building the size church they wanted. According to pastor Don Brawey, it makes more sense to buy and re-work the 18,000 square feet of room the two buildings offer the growing church.

The church was also given approval by the city to use the land they purchased for parking for a period of three years, should the extra parking space become necessary.