Northside Hospital Buford Drive site plan.jpg

Northside Hospital submitted this site plan along with a zoning request to build two medical office and clinic buildings at the corner of Rock Springs Road and Buford Drive.

Northside Hospital’s proposal to build a new medical office complex near Coolray Field has won the backing of county staff, but it still has some hurdles to clear before buildings can go up.

The agenda packet for Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting includes a report from the county’s Planning and Development staff that recommends approval with conditions of the two planned office buildings at the intersection of Buford Drive and Rock Springs Road. The site is currently split between commercial and residential zonings, and would have to be rezoned solely for commercial uses by county leaders to accommodate the medical office buildings.

“The requested rezoning for medical buildings may be consistent with the 2040 Unified Plan, which encourages high-density, multi-story office uses,” staff wrote in their report. “Likewise, the request could be consistent with recently approved large-scale developments in the surrounding area; therefore, the Department recommends approval with conditions.”

The staff recommendation for approval is just one step in the process of the getting the medical office complex approved, however. The Planning Commission’s public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday is the next step, but the Planning Commission is just a recommending body.

The final decision will come from the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners, which will hold its own public hearing on the proposal at a later date.

The office buildings would be built on 20-acres on the northwest corner of the intersection of Buford Drive and Rock Springs Road, putting it near Coolray Field and the massive planned Exchange at Gwinnett mixed-use development for which construction is about to begin between Interstate 85 and Laurel Springs Crossing.

Plans call for two four-story buildings, each with about 100,000 square feet of medical office and clinic space, that would face Buford Drive.

There are four planned entrances to the site’s proposed parking areas, including two on Rock Springs Road, one that connects to the intersection of Buford Drive and Laurel Springs Crossing and another located on Buford Drive.

Northside plans to build the complex in two phases.

“Many Gwinnett County residents use Northside Hospital for their health care,” said Debbie Mitcham, the CEO of Northside Hospital in Gwinnett and Duluth, in a statement last month.

“With other developments underway and nearby shopping and entertainment, we want to ensure access to care where our patients live, work and play.”

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta. I eventually wandered away from home and attended the University of Southern Mississippi, in Hattiesburg, Miss., where I first tried my hand at majoring in film for a couple of years. And then political sc