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Thursday, July 21, 2016
Site plans for a new psychiatric hospital in Brier Creek filed last summer have now been approved thanks to a recent 7-2 vote by the City’s Planning Commission.
Triangle Springs is a proposed 54-bed, two-story, 53,314 square-foot hospital that would get built on an empty lot on World Trade Boulevard in Brier Creek. It will be able to expand from 54 to 72 beds once the need arises.
In addition to the hospital building itself, the Triangle Springs development will also include 170 parking spaces, though only 36 are required. The property is located in a flood-hazard wetland area in the Neuse River Buffer, so the developers will have to mitigate the additional stormwater runoff generated by adding 3.4 acres of impervious surface to an empty lot.
When asked at Planning Commission last week why they needed so many spaces, The applicant, Springstone, said they operated 13 of these sites around the country and that this site was being designed with the needs of parking for outpatient clients in mind.
Springstone is a medical provider that offers “Springs” (Denver Springs, Mesa Springs, etc.) hospitals in nearly a dozen other cities throughout the country.
The site plans, however, list Hollenbach-Oakley as the developer. Among its many functions, Hollenbach-Oakley offers site consultation services for projects such as this, and has done so for hospitals in a number of cities, including Austin, Phoenix and Vancouver.
The site itself is a total of 8.77 acres and the plans drawn up by John Edwards & Company indicate that there will be extensive space dedicated to tree protection, wetland pockets, riparian buffers and all the other goodies that new development in an environmentally sensitive area require.
Of the issues needing to be addressed as a result of this development, it was the need for the City to extend sewer service to the property that generated the most discussion at Planning Commission.
Several neighbors were opposed to the proposed plans for the sewer extension, noting it would not increase the value of their properties whatsoever, with another neighbor, Ronnie King, saying that since his property wouldn’t be receiving service as a result of this extension, he felt like he was being thrown under the bus.
There was some discussion as to whether the City could install a pump station vs. a gravity sewer, but we’ll spare you the details.
Deputy City Attorney Ira Botvinick explained that the City would be able to extend the sewer lines despite the neighbor’s objections; as the decision on this case was a quasi-judicial one, however, the standards were even stricter than usual as to what evidence could be considered when making the decision to approve or not.
While the case was approved by Commissioners, which will allow Springstone to move forward with construction, which isn’t too far off the timetable initially devised by the developer last year.
In the certificate of need application — a necessity when developing any new medical facility in North Carolina (and most other states) — approved by the state in July of last year, Springstone noted that a contractor will be selected for the job by the end of July 2016, and that construction is to be at about 50 percent completion by March 2017.
In that initial application, it was noted that “Triangle Springs believes that its proposed facility will maximize health care value. Additional access to adult psychiatric inpatient beds will reduce strain on local emergency departments and general acute care hospital beds. Psychiatric patients will be appropriately treated within a dedicated inpatient facility rather than extended stays in an emergency department or observation unit.”
As Wake County currently suffers from a shortage of psychiatric beds, we’re glad this case was approved: what better definition of “in the public interest” is there than a facility to help some of the most vulnerable members of society?
As to whether Springstone will be up to the task: we decided to scour some recent online reviews of their other facilities to see what kind of a place this might be. While most of the reviews were from families of patients complaining about things such as a lack of communication or varying visitor hours, we did come across one review from an actual patient, who we figure is in a much better position to judge the place:
As a patient here, I can honestly say this is the best treatment program in the area. The staff and doctors genuinely cared for me and my well-being. In four days I went from a total mess to an optimistic individual. I felt better leaving there than I’ve felt in years! Highly recommend it for anxiety and depression!
We don’t know enough about mental health to say how someone could experience such a 180 in just four days, but hopefully whatever magic allowed that to happen will be present in the new Brier Creek facility.