Think of Cheshire Bridge Road and the city's red-light district conjures up images of bars, nightlife and these. A gay doctor wants to help change that but his plans for a new office are snagged in bureaucratic red tape.
Dr. Scott Parry, a primary care physician and psychiatrist, currently offers an array of LGBT health services at his Intown Primary Care in Virginia-Highland. He recently bought an office building at 2215 Cheshire Bridge Road as a second office to serve the nearby gay-popular neighborhood.
“There are no doctors in the area that I’m aware of,” Parry tells Project Q Atlanta. “When you think of Cheshire Bridge, you don’t think of doctors. You think clubs. You think antique stores. You think strip clubs.”
But delays in obtaining permits from the City of Atlanta have stalled his plans for two months, sparking a spat with City Hall that caught the attention of WSB.
“Each first day of the month, I have to pay the mortgage on a building I can’t use, out of my own pocket,” Parry says. “If you’re pro-jobs and pro-growth, then why do you have a process that delays everything?”
But the city says it's working "diligently" to move the project along and Parry has delayed it with incomplete and late permits.
“City of Atlanta Office of Buildings staff has been working diligently with the applicant to issue a permit approval,” Carlos Campos, a spokesperson for Mayor Kasim Reed, says in an email response. “However, the applicant has submitted incomplete information on multiple occasions. City staff has provided detailed feedback and comments about what is required.”
"We also advised the applicant that a special administrative permit and lot consolidation application must be submitted. We received the latter only last week," Campos adds.
Applicants can also check the status and comments on a permit online at any time.
Parry calls that “baloney,” adding that his builder and architect have always visited City Hall immediately to clear up any questions.
Parry adds that he sees no signs of discrimination but instead blames it on a likely underpaid and overworked city department. “I’m a doctor, I’m gay – it’s not that. It’s just city bureaucracy at its finest,” he says.
While one permit came through – coincidentally or not – just minutes before WSB aired its story on Monday, another permit remains pending. Parry says he hopes that will wrap up within two weeks. Then a four-month rehab of the two-story building can begin.
The existing Intown Primary Care office on Ponce de Leon Place offers full internal medicine and psychiatric care, along with hormone replacement treatments and cosmetic laser surgery.
Parry says he welcomes patients who are “gay, lesbian or otherwise” who might prefer a gay-friendly doctor. He also offers HIV treatment and prevention, including the new PrEP prophylaxis. And his office is known throughout the Deep South as a safe haven for transgender patients, some of whom come from as far away as Alabama and Mississippi.
“The stigma [on] those people is horrible. And they’re some of the nicest people I’ve ever met,” Parry says.
While the local gay community is “definitely” an attraction to opening a Cheshire Bridge office, it’s not the only reason, Parry says. Unlike the Virginia-Highland location, the new space can open seven days a week, offering convenient weekend appointments.