HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Neighbors said no unanimously.
But Henrico's Planning Commission said yes Thursday night, also unanimously.
At issue was the plan for Henrico Doctors' Hospital to build a four-story cancer center with related offices in the back wooded lot of Three Chopt Elementary that would also impact several neighbors on nearby Woodley Road and Parkline Drive.
Rob O'Donnell is one of them.
"We are not against the construction of a cancer center-medical office building on Henrico Doctors' property," he told commission members. "However, we are against rezoning the Three Chopt Elementary School property next to residential neighborhoods."
The Hospital Corporation of America Doctors' Hospital needed some land to build a dedicated cancer center by its hospital, which already borders the school on one side.
The Henrico School Board decided it didn't need four and a half acres behind Three Chopt Elementary and sold it to HCA for $3.2 million.
Nearby residents were stunned.
"People told me when I moved in this was a nature trail, this is a bird sanctuary," said nearby resident Ginny Jones. "So we always assumed it would be protected."
Another speaker said the county's own law required the land be used by the county.
Previously, they voiced their concerns about encroaching on the school and neighborhoods, tree removal, traffic, construction, hospital noise and other issues.
The hospital heard their concerns, turning the planned building and moving it back, along with numerous other concessions that pleased county planners, they said at the meeting.
But neighbors didn't want it at all.
Their property values would drop, they said Thursday. The school would be hemmed in. The hospital could build the cancer center on it’s own property without using the school's.
But Henrico Doctors CEO William Wagnon said that would cut into their parking and make those with cancer travel unnecessarily.
He said the building would allow those with cancer to get complete and graceful treatment that would help ease their difficult journeys.
The Planning Commission agreed that the hospital had done everything possible to make this plan a good fit and voted to approve the required zoning change.
The Board of Supervisors will meet on March 8 and will likely vote on the plan approved by the Planning Commission.