Opponents of Saratoga Springs Hospital’s Planned Expansion to Speak Out At Planning Board Meeting

According to a story in the May 14 edition of the Daily Gazette Newspaper, neighbors of the land where Saratoga  Hospital proposes to build medical offices plan to address the Planning Board this Thursday (May 16). While the Planning Board does not plan any action that evening, they will be reviewing a change in the zoning for the area.

The meeting will begin at 6:00 PM at the Recreation Center on Vanderbilt Avenue.

The story can be viewed here.

https://dailygazette.com/article/2019/05/13/neighbors-to-speak-against-hospital-plan

9 thoughts on “Opponents of Saratoga Springs Hospital’s Planned Expansion to Speak Out At Planning Board Meeting”

  1. I am so sorry I cannot attend this meeting. I hope others that that support the UDO and the hospital, as I do, can attend. We need to limit the impact of this small group of very loud people who are clearly putting their own desires ahead of the best interest of the city as a whole. Add to that, they continue to repeat the same unsubstantiated claims. So disappointed in my fellow Saratogians who are attempting to stop the only hospital in Saratoga County from providing the best services possible.

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    1. I have to disagree completely with my friend Gayle. The revised Comprehensive Plan called for a change in use of a large parcel on Morgan Street from residential to commercial. This was a very significant change that should have been given more attention by members of the City Council (including me). It wasn’t until the Hospital brought their plans for a large professional building complex for that property that I and other members of the community understood the impacts of this proposal. It’s unfair to characterize those concerned about their neighborhood as a small group of very loud people who are putting their own desires ahead of the best interests of the City. The best interests of the City include preserving and respecting neighborhoods. I know of no one who wants to stop the Hospital from providing the best possible services. The services in question here could be provided in other locations and by other means. There are many properties in the City that are close to the Hospital and are located on thoroughfares that are much more appropriate for a large professional office complex. Morgan Street is a poor choice for such a use.

      The zoning for that beautiful parcel of land should be changed back to residential by the City Council.

      Chris Mathiesen

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      1. My dear friend Chris, I have heard that suggestion of another location for this office building. One of the main premises of locating the offices within walking distance of the hospital is to provide a smooth and efficient continuum of care. My orthopedist is located on High Rock near Fresh Market. If I had to go to the ER and needed him, it would take a significant amount of time for him to come to the ER and he likely couldn’t do so without disrupting his entire patient schedule. My primary is on Rt. 50 in Wilton. Same issue. If the offices were right behind the hospital, the could be there shortly and get back to their offices with limited disruption.

        Add to that, as I stated in under another post, the complaints of those opposing this building seem to have changed based on the status. When it required a zoning change they were all upset about traffic, noise, and lights. Now that it’s a UDO issue it’s wanting it to stay residential with no mention of those things. Of course, if it remains residential there could be many homes covering the entire parcel – as opposed to the office building covering a much smaller portion – with many cars, much more noise and, lights, 24/7 as opposed to M-F, 8:00a-5:00p. I’m just really confused as to what their real concerns are and why.

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  2. I am a fan of keeping it short and (hopefully) sweet.
    If the hospital is successful in changing the zoning, it can happen ANYWHERE in our city. That is not good for any of us.

    The hospital director said that the hospital was there long before the residences were built. Either this situation is the fault of previous Zoning Board decisions, or the hospital didn’t plan far enough ahead. I hope that the homeowners will prevail. Maybe the hospital needs to buy out the homeowners who live nearby. It will probably come to that eventually, as the county continues to grow.

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    1. Zoning was established in Saratoga Springs in the early 1960’s and all of these lands that we call neighborhoods were zoned with classifications regarding development potential and density requirements. All municipalities are required by their legislation to review at least every decade, their Comprehensive Plans and their Zoning Ordinance and Map, to amend a myriad of changes in such things as population growth and market demands. It doesn’t happen overnight or capriciously.

      Yes, the hospital indeed was there first, surrounded by rural land zoned aptly rural residential. When Birch Run and later the adjacent apartment complex was built, their property developers petitioned to change the zoning from rural to a dense suburban residential which permitted far more people per acre increasing the density far greater than in most residential neighborhoods throughout the city. Today’s loud voices were not concerned back then, that the loss of the quieter less dense quieter countryside landscape was being challenged by all the very issues they now fear. It’s also well documented that the condominium association challenged the apartments from going in for all the same reasons.

      This remaining parcel could well be developed as several houses or denser suburban residential units, similar to the ones already built leaving little of the vegetation or the long view that neighbors fear losing. In hindsight, the apartments and Birch Run should have responsibly screened this property off, knowing that it would be developed so as to protect itself from what is happening now.

      Emphasizing that “this could happen anywhere in our city” is simply untrue and frankly, an exaggeration.
      The parcel offered has many greater density options available to it than a singular building located at the furthest corner and least offending corner of the site. Suburban Residential use (SR-2) could place its buildings 20 feet from the boundary line with barriers.

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    2. I agree with Henry and with Chris – and will also keep it short
      Gayle: As you stated yourself: I think you are truly confused.
      The hospital has another option, which is a bit more costly -tough Maraccas!
      It doesn’t justify violating the rights of others.

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      1. I’ll also keep it short. Be careful what you wish for. Keeping that parcel residential could bring you more problems than one office building – see my post above. The only thing confusing me is the myopic thinking of those opposing this.

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  3. As a former Commissioner, I’m certain Mr. Mathiesen understands the difficult situation that presents itself with this undeveloped parcel that can provide our hospital its needed facility requirements to continue its excellent services at the same time, improve Morgan Street so that it can be safe for those pedestrians who call this densely populated neighborhood their home. The decision to live near the hospital and in the city was probably instrumental for most all those residents who chose to downsize and live in these condominiums year-round or seasonally. It seems that everyone wants to have access to medical services much like fire and emergency response stations, so long as those services are not next door. The city knows all too well of the related problems of securing land for a new EMT station on the east side of the city, that will both shorten the emergency response time for residents but won’t be waking them up all night long, disturbing their country-like bucolic setting with service calls back into the urban core.

    Describing this proposed single medical building as a “large professional office complex” is unfortunately an overstatement. Is it unfair, to characterize this neighborhood concern as self-serving especially when these homes and apartments were constructed on rural lands next to a hospital in the city, with a residential density far greater than the surrounding neighborhoods? It’s understood that this last parcel has been viewed (and marketed) as a vista for mostly those units and condos that face it, but should not their owners and lessees have been apprised that that land would someday be developed? In hindsight, should not their developers have reduced their residential numbers to accommodate some protective landscaping and buffers for when that day arrived to see this land developed or purchased it outright? Yet the latter would have most likely resulted in just more dense housing and its accompanying vehicular component.

    Left as residential, it only seems plausible that this Morgan Street parcel will continue as suburban residential (SR-1) adding to the already dense housing that exists at its periphery. Its buildings will set back the minimum requirements by code, careful not to build over the property line and that beautiful piece of land that only benefits those border residents will be no more. Conversely, a single medical building located in the furthest and least intrusive corner will provide greater distance from those most adjacent residences.

    The city’s best interests have always included preserving historic neighborhoods and respecting its neighborhoods, listening to residents, whether their concerns for traffic and congestion occurs on Nelson Avenue or on Seward Street. Those often-difficult decisions must be made after all the sides are considered, the results benefiting the community at large.

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  4. It is debatable if Gideon Putnam who landed just west of Saratoga Springs when he arrived from Massachusetts to live briefly in a log cabin before moving into town to start his businesses and to raise his family, could have ingratiated the now ‘undetermined’ location to classify this neighborhood a ‘historic landmark site’. This neighborhood once the site of a hotel, was rural till the area was rezoned for dense residential. In fact, Geyser Crest is an older neighborhood. The Save Morgan Street proponents have questioned the safety of their residents with the potential of an increase in traffic, yet most all the residents and parcels along this street and its adjacent neighborhood are in violation of the city code in regards to providing safety for its own pedestrians, ambulatory and handicapped throughout the yea, by having them walk in the road. Sadly, this NIMBY response is not the victimization of a neighborhood by a city or its hospital, but the short sightedness of developers who chose initially not to protect themselves from land not ‘forever wild’ and those real estate agents who may have oversold the long view that could not be promised.

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