The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners will hear a request on Feb. 9 to approve the 24-hour operation of a new medical center.
The Planning Commission voted unanimously last week to approve the request.
If approved, the center at West Newberry Road and Northwest 122nd St. will treat non-trauma patients and provide laboratory testing, according to a presentation at Wednesday’s meeting.
Along with tending to injuries such as a broken leg, the center would also stabilize patients when North Florida Regional Medical Center, located about four miles away, is full.
Gerry Dedenbach, vice president of Causseaux, Hewett, and Walpole, Inc., said during Wednesday’s meeting that the population served in the area was large enough to support a new emergency facility.
Last March, commissioners voted to change the land’s zoning designation, but not without certain conditions. Under Condition 6, anything constructed on the land is restricted to business hours between 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
If commissioners approve a revision to the condition, only a medical center could operate there on a 24/7 basis.
Dedenbach said neighbors don’t have to worry about a loud bar or shopping center being built on the land. As for the medical center, trees and shrubbery will block noise and light, he said.
Still, Gainesville resident Joseph Largay said ambulance traffic would add to the sound of locking cars and patient traffic throughout the night.
“Some of them will sit there 20 to 40 minutes while they’re loading or unloading, and those old diesels just sit there humming, humming, humming,” he said during the meeting.
Several nearby residents also wrote letters to county staff, expressing their concerns about possible noise and traffic.
Despite one citizen’s concern, several commissioners expressed excitement before voting to approve the amendment.
Planning commissioner Susan Mcquillan said the area has been overgrown for years, and commissioner James Higman said the project would bring needed jobs and medical care to West Gainesville.
“I’m getting in the age now that maybe I’ll have to use that facility,” Higman said.