Planning Commission_Saint Thomas zoning

This map shows the location of the planned Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford at Westlawn hospital in Blackman. SUBMITTED

A hospital that would be part of a medical complex may be coming to the Westlawn development in Blackman.

Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital last month announced it wanted to build a “neighborhood hospital” in Westlawn, on Veteran’s Parkway/Shores Road at Interstate 840. The name would be Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford at Westlawn.

While one commercial lot in the mixed-use Westlawn development allows hospitals, the 10.5-acre lot the hospital wants does not, so Saint Thomas is asking for a change to the Planned Unit Development zoning for that parcel. President and CEO Gordon Ferguson on May 6 made spoke to the Murfreesboro Planning Commission, which held an online meeting.

The hospital will be 32,000 square feet and two stories tall, Ferguson said. There will be eight in-patient beds and eight emergency room treatment rooms, as well as imaging services including CT and lab services. The development cost is $24.6 million.

The Ascension hospital is adjacent to a lot owned by Tennessee Orthopaedic Alliance, Ferguson said, and Ascension wants to partner on an orthopedic ambulatory surgery center. Murfreesboro Medical Clinic owns property in “this same area.”

“We’ve had discussions on opportunities to work together to make a medical destination on the west side of I-24 in Blackman,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson said Ascension already wanted to have more “access points” in Rutherford County. He referenced as an example the medical facility it built a couple years ago on New Salem Highway, and said it plans to build an ambulatory surgery center adjacent to it.

The Westlawn hospital, or “micro-hospital,” concept has been used by Ascension in Texas, Indiana and Wisconsin, Ferguson said. It would the first of its type in Tennessee. Ascension must go through licensing and obtain a certificate of need from the state.

The request was approved, and will go to the Murfreesboro City Council.

In other business, a zoning ordinance amendment to consider changes to off-street parking and loading was deferred.

The planning commission also approved:

• a request by Rutherford County Area Habitat for Humanity to allow installation of irrigation lines in the public right-of-way for development of Legacy Pointe subdivision.

• a request by North Boulevard Church of Christ for the city to dedicate a Consolidated Utility District water line easement and temporary construction easement on city-owned property on the south side of Burnt Knob Road. The church is building on the north side of Burnt Knob.

• the abandonment of a Murfreesboro Water Resources Department sanitary sewer easement inside Westlawn. The applicant is MAB Murfreesboro LLC. The plat shows the developer is MAB American Management LLC, which is in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The developer plans to build an unnamed grocery store and several outparcels, said city planner Margaret Ann Green.

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