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February 28, 2013

Council approves zoning for birthing center

The Greenville City Council has approved a zoning change for a proposed “birthing center” in a residential neighborhood near downtown.

The Council voted Tuesday to grant the change from “single family” to “neighborhood services” for 2406 Church Street.

“I think it is going to be a pretty good deal for the area,” said Chief Building Official Steve Methven.

Audrey Stucker had sought the change, to allow her to open a center inside the residence. Birthing centers offer a low-cost alternative to a traditional hospital birth, especially for those without insurance.

Methven told the Council that Stucker also owns the four lots adjacent to the property, one of which will be used for parking.

“There won’t be a whole lot of traffic at the house,” Methven said, explaining that birthing centers are considered healthcare facilities that are staffed by nurse-midwives, midwives and/or obstetricians. The closest birthing center to Greenville is in Rockwall.

“They are getting more and more common,” Methven said.

Stucker, a licensed midwife, said she had lived in the house until a few months ago and hopes to provide a home-like environment for expectant mothers.

“A lot of times they seek us out because that is what they want,” Stucker said. “They want the more natural, home environment.”

The zoning change passed on a unanimous vote of the Council.

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