Editor,

I wonder how many people in Huntersville know that The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority (CMHA) is planning to put an in- and out-patient psychiatric hospital right in between a quiet, family filled subdivision and a public charter school? As a homeowner in the aforementioned subdivision, I want to be clear when I say “What are they thinking?!”

It is now in the hands of our town commissioners and our mayor to determine whether they will rezone the land at the corner of N.C. 115 and Verhoeff Drive from residential/neighborhood to campus/institutional and allow this facility to be placed in a terribly unsuitable location.

Let me count some of the ways that this does not makes sense:

1. The proposed hospital would treat mentally unstable and, more likely than not, heavily medicated patients. Keep in mind that my child, along with many in my neighborhood, will be playing outside just a couple hundred feet away from the people arriving at this hospital.

2. The CMHA proposal touts the security measures that they plan to take. Let’s really think about this. They are installing double locked doors and extra high walls to prevent patients from scaling them. Did it ever occur to them that this may not be a facility that needs to be in a residential neighborhood, within walking distance to schools and homes with small children?

3. The proposed extension of Lottingly Drive to Verhoeff Drive will not only directly connect Monteith Place to the hospital but will undoubtedly invite through traffic past intersections which serve as bus stops for our neighborhood children and thus put them in unnecessary danger.

4. The stigma surrounding a “psychiatric hospital” would diminish the current appeal of not only Monteith Place, but all surrounding homes, and subsequently the future property values at an already depressed time in the housing market.

5. With the completion of I-485 and the construction underway further south (i.e. Bryton development and the vehicle dealerships) adding a hospital requiring large delivery trucks and consistent traffic will heavily increase the volume of traffic on N.C. 115 and Verhoeff Drive that the current infrastructure will not support.

There absolutely must be a better and more suitable location for this facility. If this interests you, please attend the next Huntersville town board meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17.

– Ashley Owens, Huntersville