Agreement reached to move forward on hospital expansion
by Jess Berry
Jan 14, 2015 | 3105 views | 0 0 comments | 147 147 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New York Methodist Hospital (NYM) will move forward with plans for a contentious new outpatient care center, after reaching a settlement with concerned Park Slope residents.

Park Slope residents making up the local advocacy group Preserve Park Slope (PPS) began litigation against NYM when the hospital announced its plans for the creation of a Center for Community Health.

Locals were particularly concerned with the size of the building and the traffic problems it would create once built.

So, when the New York City’s Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) approved the hospital addition, PPS challenged the approval in court.

Finally, the two parties have agreed upon a settlement that appears to work for everyone, and the new building will be constructed on hospital-owned property between 5th Street, 8th Avenue and 6th Street, across from NYM’s existing inpatient buildings in Park Slope.

Included in the settlement are the removal of the seventh floor of the building, thereby reducing the height of the outpatient clinic by about 14 feet; the addition of a landscaped area along 8th Avenue; the development of a comprehensive operational traffic management plan by a traffic engineer paid for by NYM; the inclusion of PPS representatives on design and construction committees for the building; and information on NYM’s website with regular updates about the building's construction.

In return, PPS has agreed to discontinue its litigation opposing the zoning variances for the Center for Community Health and will not oppose any approvals or permits required to construct or operate the center.

The hope is to keep the community involved, as well as reduce the use of residential streets by vehicles related to NYM’s facilities, to limit the impact of the building’s loading dock on the community and to address on-street parking issues.

Andrea Stewart, a member of the PPS Executive Committee, said the settlement has addressed the community’s most pressing issues with the new building.

“We are pleased that we have reached this agreement, which will help to address the community’s concerns regarding the height of the new building, the impact of increased traffic especially on pedestrian safety and the effect of the new building on the neighborhood character,” she said.

For its part, NYM is excited to finally be able to move ahead with plans for the new building.

“We are delighted that we have been able to resolve the litigation over the zoning variances in an amicable manner,” said Lyn Hill, vice president for Communication and External Affairs. “The settlement will allow us to move forward to construct the new outpatient healthcare facility which is very much needed by the entire Brooklyn community.”

Councilman Brad Lander, who has been an involved party throughout the settlement discussions, said he was “pleased” about the agreement.

“The expansion of Methodist Hospital is an important part of preserving quality health care in the neighborhood, especially in the midst of a shifting health care landscape,” he said.

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