Still no decision yet on medical clinic

RANDOLPH — For the second week in a row, Randolph area residents packed the City Council Chambers for a meeting about a proposed new medical clinic here. 

And for the second week in a row, no final decision on the fate of the proposed facility was made.

After another public hearing where citizens voiced their opinions for over an hour, the Randolph City Council decided to send the issue back down to the Planning and Zoning Committee.

The issue up for debate last Wednesday was if a Special Use Permit should be granted to Jim Recob and his company, Bruncson LLC, to build a half million dollar medical facility at 215 W. Broadway in Randolph.

Around 55 people showed up to the public hearing, 10 less than the week prior at the Planning & Zoning Committee. 

Once again, many who spoke at the meeting voiced concerns regarding the business impact of having two medical clinics. There was worry expressed about Randolph not being a large enough community to support two clinics and that ultimately at least one would close down the road.

However valid these points, the City Council is required to decide on the Special Use Permit based on seven criteria needing to be met. If one is not met then the Special Use Permit cannot be issued.

The criteria for granting a Special Use Permit are as follows:

  1. Be compatible with and similar to the use permitted in the district;
  2. Not be a matter which should require re-zoning the property;
  3. Not be detrimental to adjacent property;
  4. Not tend to depreciate the value of the surrounding structures or property;
  5. Be compatible with the stated intended use of the district;
  6. Not change the character of the district; and
  7. Be in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan.

These seven points were brought up by Osmond Hospital lawyer David Levy who was present at the meeting for the second straight week.

The hospital is involved at this meeting because the current medical clinic in Randolph is operated by Osmond General Hospital.

Levy pointed out there were issues that should be considered with each of the seven criteria points.

He, like many others, finished his speech with an applause from the crowd.

Some people in favor of the project also spoke to the Council.

Overall though, a majority that spoke at the meeting were against the proposal to construct a new medical clinic building.

After the city council voted to send the issue back down to the Planning & Zoning Committee for further examination a suggestion was made for any future public hearings. One Randolph resident presented the idea that anyone who wishes to speak at a City Council meeting should write down their full name, occupation, and address, as opposed to just a first name like what had been done at the meeting.

The idea surfaced from worries that those voicing opinions against the Special Use Permit may not have all been Randolph residents but rather a large representation from other communities that would not be affected by the Council's decision.

A few people at the meeting touched on the history of the clinic, which included a revered man in the Randolph Community, Dr. Billerbeck. He ran the Randolph facility before ultimately selling it to the Osmond Hospital, but he always ensured there was a doctor that lived in town. He even came out of retirement at one point to serve his community again.

Once again, a few people brought up issues with the Special Use Permit like Osmond lawyer David Levy, but a majority voiced personal concerns about the situation, whether it be worry of job loss or worry of losing a medical facility in Randolph.

The City Council sent this down to the Planning & Zoning Committee, saying they are in no rush to make this decision and want more information regarding the half million dollar project. One City Councilman said he wanted to send it back down to P&Z because he felt the whole truth wasn’t being told by somebody. Jim Recob had previously said is not affiliated with Faith Regional Physician Services but the goal was to bring them into the facility he wants to construct. An Osmond Hospital administrator says he has talked to administrators at FRPS and says there is no intention to put a facility in Randolph. The City Councilman wants the truth before deciding.

It is expected that there may be another Public Hearing at the next Planning & Zoning Committee meeting.

As for the rest of the City Council meeting, there was an ordinance with three zoning amendments that was passed unanimously by the Council. 

In department reports, it was announced that the Muffin Monster has arrived. A Muffin Monster is a machine that will be used at the wastewater treatment facility.  It is used to grind up waste materials.

Council members also heard a report on police activities in the community. 

Lastly, the City Council decided to take on a small project of putting up new stalls in the bathrooms at the football field.

This expense will be split with the Randolph school and will be installed by city employees.

The original estimated cost was $3,500 but more research will be done online to see if the partitions can be purchased more cheaply.

Northeast Nebraska News Company

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