City Council: Anti-abortion group can't move next to Raleigh women's clinic

— In a unanimous vote Tuesday night, the Raleigh City Council decided that an anti-abortion group would not be allowed to move their offices next to a clinic that provides abortions.

A Hand of Hope ministry, which operates the Your Choice Pregnancy Clinic and provides free pregnancy services purchased land, which needed to be rezoned to allow for office space, next to A Preferred Women’s Health Center at 1604 Jones Franklin Road in January. Hand of Hope had previously leased office space about a quarter-mile away.

City leaders said Tuesday night that the rezoning request is inconsistent with the city’s comprehensive plan, which has a vision that extends to the year 2030. They said rezoning for the anti-abortion group is simply not in tandem with the plan’s policy.

Councilwoman Kay Crowder read, from a prepared statement, a list of reasons why the zoning request was denied.

“The proposed rezoning is not the most efficient use of the land, nor will it produce a high tax value compared to a large, more coordinated office development,” she said.

Council members were originally scheduled to vote on the matter on June 21, but the case was rescheduled after public hearing notices were set out to neighbors listed the incorrect time for the meeting.

Since the rezoning request was submitted, the City Council has heard arguments from citizens on both sides of the issue.

Those who support Hand of Hope said having a nonprofit anti-abortion group next to an abortion clinic is about giving women options.

“If an abortion clinic is located there, why not give women another choice to save their pregnancy, to save their baby,” said Brandi Kraus.

Those opposed to the rezoning feared women at the abortion clinic would be the target of harassment and intimidation.

“I feel like, if they have made that choice and they are on their way into that establishment, they should not be harassed by other people and having some place right next door would’ve made it a lot harder to not be harassed,” said Sharon Mixon.

The executive director of Hand of Hope said that protesting is against their policy.

The City Council did not address those concerns, but simply stuck to their argument that the rezoning request was inconsistent with a number of policies contained within the comprehensive plan.

“The rezoning of this one singular parcel within a larger area designated for office use will have detrimental impact on the remaining residents’ properties,” said Crowder.

A special thank you to our friends at WRAL for helping out with this post.

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