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Old hospital rezoning hearing set

Public hearing to rezone to GB set for Dec. 12

TRYON—Tryon Town Council’s meeting on Tuesday was almost standing room only as many packed the meeting to hear discussions on rezoning the old St. Luke’s Hospital property on Carolina Drive. 

Tryon Attorney William Morgan began the meeting by explaining recent developments, that the town is now considering making the rezoning conditional use rezoning instead, so no public hearing was held Tuesday. 

Tryon’s council meeting Tuesday was recessed until Thursday, Dec. 12 at 5:30 p.m. 

A special board of planning and adjustment meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9. Both meetings will be held in the McCown meeting room at town hall. Public comments will be taken during the public hearing on Dec. 12. 

“That meeting (Dec. 12) will be dedicated for consideration of the application for conditional use rezoning,” Morgan said. “There will not be public comment tonight on the matter. That will be heard at those dates and times but not tonight.” 

The Tryon Board of Planning and Adjustment met last Thursday and tabled a recommendation to rezone the old St. Luke’s property from R-2 (residential) to GB (General Business). Many Carolina Drive area residents have expressed concern over the rezoning so it was suggested to make the rezoning conditional use, so any use there would have to get approval from the town. 

Dorothy Easley and Tom Brylowe are trying to purchase the property to eventually turn it into their residence and have offices for their businesses. In order to do the renovations and have businesses there, the zoning needs to be changed to GB. 

Easley and Brylowe said last week they are trying to restore the historic building, which was first constructed as the first St. Luke’s Hospital in 1929. Once the hospital moved to Columbus in 1973, the building was used by Polk County as the department of social services and the Meeting Place Senior Center until another building was purchased in Columbus to house those services several years ago. 

Easley said the property needs protection from vandalism, the roof is rotting and needs repair promptly and the land needs replanting. 

Easley, now an appellate lawyer, used to be a research forest geneticist. Brylowe works on patents for certain gun parts and plans to have an office and shop to work on those parts he makes by hand, Easley said. 

Easley said most of what would occur initially would be to repair the roofs to protect the structure, controlling the kudzu and re-planting.