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November 23, 2013

Ambulance service housing on agenda

THOMASVILLE — At a Monday meeting, Thomasville Planning and Zoning Commission will consider a request for an non-emergency ambulance service to be housed in an historic district.

City staff recommended approval of the rezoning request for 215 N. Dawson St.

The planning and zoning panel will consider the request at a 5:30 p.m. meeting in Thomasville City Council Chambers at City Hall, 144 E. Jackson St.

Thomasville Landmarks Inc., which is opposed to the rezoning, released the following statement on the issue in October:

"We do not support the proposed rezoning of 215 N. Dawson St. from its current R-2 to conditional use. We do support free enterprise, and it is further agreed that we are a community who welcomes new businesses, smart growth and appropriate development.

"If" this business were simply a 'dispatch only' office for a regional business, we would be inclined to warmly welcome such neighbors who plan to keep the property/use consistent with the area. The glaring problem of grave concern is the impact that a fleet of emergency vehicles in a historic downtown mixed-use area would have on public safety, property values, quality visitor experience, general area aesthetics, noise and potential to be a magnet for crime (medical supplies/medicine).

"The local historic districts were created by the city to preserve and protect the integrity of in-town neighborhoods, and our part of our mission is to defend those historic districts."

The subject was on agendas for two recent planning and zoning meetings that were canceled.

The proposed site would house Gold Star ambulance service.

Charles Proctor, a Gold Star owner, said the current Gold Star office at 330 N. Broad St. is two blocks from the proposed Dawson Street location.

Scheduled transfers are the primary function of Gold Star, Proctor told the Times-Enterprise prior to the canceled October meeting.

Proctor said Gold Star has made extensive renovations at the proposed Dawson Street building. Asbestos was removed from the structure, and landscaping improvements are planned.

If the planning and zoning panel votes on the request Monday, Thomasville City Council will consider first reading of a rezoning ordinance within 30 days.

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