Zoning Board Rules for Planned Parenthood

This afternoon, the Albemarle Board of Zoning Appeals held the long-discussed public hearing about revoking Planned Parenthood‘s occupancy permit for their new office on Hydraulic Road and, in a 3-1-1 ruling (one abstaining), they ruled against the appellant, Renae Townsend. The debate was over whether the R-10 zoning permitted Planned Parenthood to perform medical services there — the majority held that they qualified as a professional office (in the manner of a physician or dentist), and not as a medical center (such as a hospital), while the minority disagreed. The 1pm meeting ran for over 4 hours, with testimony coming from dozens in the overflowing auditorium. Hundreds of people filled the room, the lobby, and even the steps of the building, with pro-choice members (identified by Planned Parenthood stickers) far, far outnumbering those opposed to the organization. There is still the matter of the lawsuit brought against the county by six residents of the nearby Garden Court, who allege that permitting Planned Parenthood to locate there amounts to an unlawful taking of their property rights, through devaluation of their property. The case isn’t likely to go very far.

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