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February 16, 2013

A labor of love

GREENVILLE — The Planning and Zoning Commission intends to consider whether to give birth to a new business concept for Greenville, which could be located in the middle of a residential neighborhood not far from downtown.

The Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing before taking a vote on whether to deliver a recommended approval of a request in a change in zoning from “single family” to “neighborhood services” for 2406 Church Street, during Monday’s regular session, starting at 5:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building.

Audrey Stucker is requesting the change, to allow her to open a “birthing center” inside the residence.

According to a memo from Chief Building Official Steve Methven, Stucker met with the city staff several months ago about the idea.

“A birthing center is considered a healthcare facility that is staffed by nurse-midwives, midwives and/or obstetricians,” Methven said. “For financial reasons, many mothers choose birthing centers as a low-cost alternative to the traditional hospital birth, especially those without insurance. There are also several mothers that prefer this type of facility to allow  for doulas and birthing coaches to attend and assist midwives. This type of facility also allows for family and friends to attend and offers a home-like environment that some consider much less stressful while giving birth.”

Methven believes that based on the definition and intent of a birthing center, a home rather than a commercial or office structure is an ideal location for the concept.

“The Greenville Zoning Ordinance does not separately define birthing centers,” Methven explained.

 “City staff considers this type of use a ‘Medical or Dental Clinic.’ Unfortunately for the applicant, a medical clinic is not allowed in any residential zoning district.”

The change in zoning to “Neighborhood Services” was considered the best option for the Stucker.

“These uses generally provide for retail or service transactions without burdening a neighborhood with excessive vehicular traffic,” Methven said, as he recommended approval of the zoning change request to the Commission.

The Commission will vote whether to recommend approval of the request to the City Council, which will consider a final vote during the Feb. 26 regular session.

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