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Hospital answers neighbors’ concerns about building site

Harrison County Hospital’s plans to build a new hospital and medical office building in northwest Corydon apparently moved forward Monday night even though Corydon Planning and Zoning Commission’s Appeals Board tabled its request for two needed variances to allow construction in a R1 zone. The board tabled the matter to give hospital officials and architects time to address several concerns raised Monday night.
Hospital attorney John Colin opened the appeal by saying the hospital’s “bottom line” is that it wants to be “a good corporate neighbor.”
To that end, to hear future neighbors’ concerns and assuage their fears, hospital CEO Steve Taylor and other officials, plus surgeon Dr. Steve Bodney, met recently with residents whose property adjoins the 34-acre site where the hospital wants to build. The land, owned by Paul J. Scharf and Beryl Yetter, is just south of I-64, west of the Corydon-Ramsey Road and east of S.R. 337. The meeting with the neighbors was held at the home of Arthur and Catherine Turcotte, who live in the area.
At the appeals board meeting, Colin discussed expected traffic patterns on 337 and the Corydon-Ramsey Road, neighbors’ concerns about safety and security, illumination from the hospital complex, noise, a wooded buffer zone south of the hospital campus, and Corydon’s zoning regulations, particularly regarding restricted uses.
“That’s the test,” said Colin, “that’s the criteria that you would use to determine if this is an appropriate use. It all comes down to the best use of the 34-acre site that will best serve Harrison County.”
The board and then residents asked many questions about the narrow, winding roads in the area and if county engineer Darin Duncan has been consulted on the planning (he has). They are also concerned about illumination (which will be directed toward the interstate and away from the homes; special entry roads for employees and service trucks; the possibility of widening Corydon-Ramsey Road; New Albany developer Bob Lynn’s plans for his big residential and commercial tract immediately to the east; the wooded buffer zones to the south and east; hospital expansion plans years from now, and the affect all this growth will have on taxes and property values.
Richard Gettelfinger, speaking for his elderly father who owns land there, said he’s glad the hospital officials were sensitive to the neighbors’ concerns and willing to sit down and listen. “We all want to be proud of this hospital,” said Gettelfinger, whose stance has softened since the last appeals board meeting.
He said, “A lot of other things could go there that could be a lot less desirable” than a hospital and medical office building. Appeals board member Dr. Len Waite has said often that the hospital could choose to build on the commercial property owned by Lynn next door and never have to come before the plan commission for approval because the ground is already zoned commercial.
After much discussion, Waite moved to table the requests for the two variances and give hospital officials and architects time to address these concerns:
1. Is it possible for the access road to the hospital campus from the Corydon-Ramsey Road to be at the same intersection where a new four-lane highway will come out of Lynn’s commercial property north of Homestead Manor North subdivision, with a traffic signal?
2. How will green space buffer zone be protected in perpetuity?
3. Where or how will the hospital expand in years to come?
4. Can the Corydon-Ramsey Road be widened south and east of the hospital campus?
5. What can be done about rock blasting and gravel truck traffic from the Corydon Stone and Asphalt quarry?
The hospital officials and architects said they would address these issues and return to the next plan commission meeting.