Richmond Hill City Council approved by a 3-1 vote a resolution Tuesday to annex land off Port Royal Road and Highway 144 where Memorial Health University Medical Center plans on building a freestanding emergency room.
Councilman Mark Ott was the lone dissenting vote.
In a vote tied to the annexation, the council then unanimously approved a petition by the hospital to rezone the 46.16 acre site to commercial.
The hospital bought more than 430 acres off Rabbit Hill Road and Port Royal for about $9 million in January.
In February, a Memorial spokesman said the facility will have emergency room physicians and nurses on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is projected to have perhaps a dozen beds for emergency patients, who will either be treated and released or sent to hospitals if they require more care. according to Memorial.
With the exception of Ott, who has questioned the need for the facility, the ER has gotten support from city leaders, and Tuesday night Doris Purser of Station Exchange Senior Living spoke to council in support of the project.
She noted the time it takes to transport stroke victims to Savannah could cost them millions of brain cells and ultimately impact their ability to function.
“Maybe the question shouldn’t be what are the benefits of having an emergency room in Richmond Hill,” she said. “Maybe the question should be what do we have to lose?”