Commissioners, planners against mental health facility rezoning

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HIGH POINT, N.C. — High Point City Council will need a three-fourths majority Monday night to rezone land to prevent a proposed mental health facility from being built.

Geo Care wants to build a facility on 91 acres of land at the old Evergreens senior health care facility on Greensboro Road. Company officials said it would create 185 new jobs with salaries ranging from $25,000 to $200,000.

However, High Point Mayor Becky Smothers and some councilmembers wanted to rezone the property for residential family use only. The rezoning would prevent Geo Care from buying the land and building the 90-bed facility.

Those in favor of rezoning said they’re concerned about dangerous, mentally unstable criminals being too close to home. The facility was proposed as part of the replacement for the Dorothea Dix hospital in Raleigh.

But on Wednesday, the Guilford County Commission filed a petition against rezoning the land.

“The county owns the land. Therefore, we should be able to do what we want to do with our land within reason. It’s a good deal for the county,” said Commissioner Skip Alston.

Alston said the county stands to make about $3.1 million on the sale of this property. However, while the facility may bring in money in the short term, Smothers argues the facility is a bad deal in the long term.

Smothers also pointed out High Point controls how the land is used through zoning.

The city’s planning commission also voted against the rezoning, which caused its passage to require a 3/4 majority of council.

One councilmember said there is no support to rezone the land, while another said it’s going to be a close vote.

Business owners near the proposed hospital said they are in support of the new facility.

“I believe in free enterprise,” said Avery Jones, owner of Cut ‘N Up Barber Shop.

“With more traffic and more cars parked, I think I’ll do pretty good selling cars and just washing a few,” said Bernard Miller with 5 Points Detailing and Auto Sales, across the street from the barber shop.

If the Geo Care facility falls through, Miller said Smothers needs to come up with something else quick.

“If she wants to come out here and set up an office in 5 Points, I don’t have a problem with that, as long as it’s going to generate revenue,” Miller said.

Geo Care is currently the highest bidder for the property.

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