Planning Board approves special use permit for new replacement hospital

Available to answer questions at the July 15 Town of Franklin Planning Board meeting regarding a special use application for the new Angel Medical Center Hospital was, from left: Sherry Mendel, senior design manager with ESa architectural firm in Nashville, Tenn.; Karen Gorby, CEO and CNO of Angel Medical Center; Jack Parker, a civil engineer with Catalyst Design Group in Murphysboro, Tenn.; and, Randel Forkum, a principal in the ESa firm. Photo by Deena C. Bouknight

 Deena C. Bouknight – Contributing Writer 

On July 15, in less than an hour, the Town of Franklin Planning Board approved the special use application for the new Angel Medical Center Hospital. 

Slated for completion, conservatively by 2022, according to Karen Gorby, CEO and CNO of Angel Medical Center, the replacement hospital will be located on Hunnicut Lane, just off Highway 23/441. 

Town planner Justin Setser explained that a special use permit was applied for because the property is zoned Commercial Highway (C-3) and the size of the building exceeds, somewhat, the 80,000 square feet threshold. 

“We held a neighborhood compatibility meeting June 27 for representatives of Angel and neighbors within 400 feet,” said Setser, “and there were lots of questions, but no concerns or requirements. They were just curious.” 

At the July 15 meeting, board member Janet Green asked about a crosswalk to the Macon Center multi-use area that includes the new Bojangles and Haywood Smokehouse as well as Discover Church, A Stitch in Time, TPS Apparel, and more. 

“It would be good if the hospital staff could walk over to eat and use services at that center,” said Chair Tom Harris. Added Setser, “There will have to be some coordination to put in a sidewalk in order to have a crosswalk. In fact, my only real recommendation is to add more sidewalks [around the new hospital], but other than that they’ve [Angel Medical, now owned by HCA Healthcare] checked all the boxes.”

Five “Findings of Fact” were agreed on July 15 and then approved unanimously by the Planning Board; they included:

a) The use or development is located, designed, and proposed to be operated so as to maintain or promote the public health, safety, and general welfare. 

b) There are, or will be at the time they are required, adequate public facilities to serve the use or development as specific in 152.060, below. 

c) The use or development complies with all required regulations and standards of this chapter or with variances thereto, if any, granted pursuant to division (S), below, and with all other applicable regulations.

d) The use or development is located, designed, and proposed to be operated so as to be compatible with the particular neighborhood in which it is to be located. 

e) The use or development conforms with the general plans for the physical development of the town as embodied in this chapter, the Principles of Growth, the Thoroughfare Plan, and any other duly adopted plans of the town. 

The new hospital will be situated on 12.89 acres, encompass 82,500 square feet and two floors, and have 139 parking spaces. In the hospital has been approved for 30 patient rooms, five intensive care unit (ICU) rooms, three operation rooms, 16 emergency room (ER) rooms, and two trauma rooms. Plus, there will be a helipad, cafeteria, and more. 

The closest neighbor to the new hospital will be Franklin House, an assisted living and memory care center at 186 One Center Court.  Sherry Mendel, senior design manager for the architectural firm of ESa in Nashville, Tenn., said a consideration is making sure that lighting does not spill over from the new hospital property onto Franklin House. 

The current Angel Medical Center Hospital in Franklin is located at 120 Riverview Drive and was first built in the 1920s and has been added onto multiple times over the years, most significantly in 1956.  There are no immediate plans for the use of the existing hospital after the new hospital is completed, according to Gorby. 

Board Member Andrew Raby said that the new Angel Medical Center Hospital “will be good for the Town because we’re expanding our infrastructure outwards.”