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Hearing on medical clinic draws large crowd

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RANDOLPH - A Planning and Zoning Committee meeting last Wednesday garnered a lot of local attention. 

At least 65 people showed up to voice their opinions on what the Planning and Zoning Committee was voting on Wednesday night — a special use permit for Jim Recob and Bruncson LLC to build a medical clinic at 215 W. Broadway in Randolph.

The medical clinic would be a half million dollar project. It would be on lots 9-12 of block 12 in Original Randolph. The building would host three offices, three exam rooms, a lab room, procedure room, and X-ray room. 

Bruncson LLC built the medical clinic in Randolph and owns the Wakefield clinic, but did not build that office.

The land in question is being sold to Jim Recob under the condition of an approved special use permit. The land is being sold by Planning and Zoning Committee member Mark Korth, who abstained from voting due to conflict of interest.

The committee was discussing whether to recommend approval or denial of the special use permit to the Randolph City Council at their meeting the following Wednesday.

A special use permit was being applied for because the land in question is currently residential, classified R-2, and this classification is eligible to be used for commercial purposes with a special use permit. Also, it was the main place in town that Recob liked for the half a million dollar project.

The proposed medical clinic would be the second medical facility in a town of fewer than 1,000 people. The facility that is currently operating in Randolph is associated with Osmond Hospital, while the facility in question is assumed to be connected to Faith Regional Hospital by many of the residents despite Recob stating he does not represent the Norfolk hospital.

Many residents were worried that Randolph cannot support two medical clinics and that it could potentially leave the City without either facility in years down the road.

There were 11 letters written to the Planning and zoning committee, and many of the 65 people in attendance of the meeting voiced their opinions regarding the proposed project. This included many people that work at the clinic in Randolph and the hospital in Osmond.

Many of the points reinforced the ideology of not wanting another medical facility in town. Unfortunately for those people that devoted their time to the meeting to voice this opinion, the point was mute considering the only role the Planning and Zoning board had was to deem whether the location was suitable for the business or not.

This generated a discussion of whether or not the Planning and Zoning committee is the “gatekeepers”. The term was coined when one of the committee members said they aren’t the gatekeepers but residents disagreed saying that Planning and Zoning is the first step of the process so, in a sense, they are the gatekeepers that dictate if something moves forward.

In actuality, regardless of if Planning and Zoning recommend approval or denial of a project the City Council can decide however they want.

Some residents in attendance voiced concerns about the project being placed in a residential area. Concerns included parking, an increase in traffic — including speeding, and that there is a blind spot at the stop sign on the corner. 

There were also concerns voiced about HIPAA because of it being near a residential area. HIPAA guarantees medical patients privacy, both in regard to health record information and how it is used. The argument for HIPAA is that in a residential area it can be seen who is entering and leaving the facility so this can violate privacy potentially.

After the committee listened to community members for an hour and a half, the public hearing was closed and the Planning and Zoning committee began discussing and deliberating the criteria of a special use permit and what the recommendation would be. 

In the end, Planning and Zoning recommended the City Council to deny the special use permit request at the City Council meeting on Wednesday. The vote was one for and four against. Jason Schmit voted for the project, with Marcus Papenhausen, Crystal Junck, Tom Guenther, and Josh Rayford voting against. Mark Korth abstained from the vote.

With the City Council meeting on Wednesday, there will be another public hearing where concerns can be voiced to the City Council before the vote.