HOLGATE — Following a recommendation by the Holgate Zoning Board, village council Tuesday approved a change in zoning that makes way for an expansion of Vancrest of Holgate.
Doug Bower, zoning administrator for the village, said Vancrest recently purchased the lot to the west of the current facility on Joe E. Brown Avenue with the goal of an expansion.
Bower explained, when the village originally developed its zoning map, it classified facilities such as Vancrest as nonconforming because they were located outside of the industrial park and commercial district.
“They were grandfathered in with the old facility,” Bower explained.
The recently purchased property was zoned residential but the company requested it be changed as nonconforming.
Dave Rellinger, director of property management for VanCrest Health Care Centers, met with the zoning board and explained the company’s plan for the expansion, which has been approved by the state.
Parking will be added in the front of the facility and a new entrance to the nursing home side will be created, as well as a new lobby, nurses station, conference room and office. Rellinger added they are working on potentially expanding the therapy room and dining area. The current entrance to the nursing home will be converted into a rehab lounge.
The overall number of beds will remain at 51, but the existing rooms will be converted to private rooms and the new addition will have semi-private rooms — two people in each room. When the new addition is done, there will be 12 semi-private rooms and 27 private rooms. Of the private rooms, some will be for the nursing home and the remainder will be for rehab patients.
“We are preparing for the ... trend of health care by adding large enough rooms to accommodate semi-private rooms and, in turn, taking all of our smaller rooms from the existing building and turning them into private rooms,” Rellinger said, adding the closest wing to the therapy department will be the therapy rehab wing.
Rellinger added the company and its president, Mark White, are building for the future.
“He’s thrilled the community supports this facility,” he said. “It’s always been a good facility, it’s always had good help.”
Bower noted the nonconforming designation will remain with the property as long as the health care facility remains there or if a similar facility were to take its place. However, if a different type of business, such as retail, would ever purchase that property, Bower said it would return to the zoning board for approval.
“Thanks for your support of the nursing home,” Rellinger said.
Council approved changing the designation, with Councilman Tim Herndon abstaining.
Rellinger said the tentative goal to have the expansion completed is July. He added the facility is considering adding four assisted living rooms in the future, but they have not yet applied for permits for that portion of the project.