[JK:I offered Claudia Braymer, the attorney who represents the neighbors in the dispute with the hospital, a forum to address my recent blog post on the issue. I made a similar offer to Matt Jones who represents the hospital. Ms. Braymer sent me the following statement.]
While the Comprehensive Plan does define Institutional as an area that allows for religious, health, educational, cultural and tourism, the Comprehensive Plan does not state that the Institutional area would allow for commercial/professional office complexes. Yet, that is exactly what the proposed OMB-2 designation would allow.
The zoning change is not simply about the Hospital’s one proposed-in-theory (but not actually before the Planning Board) medical office building. The zoning change for Parcel #1 is about changing the entire 17+ acre Parcel #1 site (most of which is currently owned by DA Collins) to a zoning district that allows for professional offices (not limited to medical offices), plus medical offices, parking facilities, and other related accessory structures. The Comprehensive Plan does not support changing all of Parcel #1 to a zoning district that allows for professional offices of an unrestricted nature.
The City Council should reject the OMB-2 designation, and have the Hospital & DA Collins bring forward all of their plans for this undeveloped land, so that the public and the City can evaluate the situation in the light of day, and come to a rational conclusion about the proper zoning designation.
Braymer Law, PLLC
Claudia K. Braymer
Attorney at Law
PO Box 2369
Glens Falls NY 12801
6 thoughts on “Attorney For Neighbors Of Saratoga Hospital Responds To Blog Post”
I think that for purposes of conformity, the Comprehensive Plan follows the definitions of the city’s zoning ordinance and its property classifications. Institutional has always been defined by a facility that provides a public service such as religious institution, library, public or private school or college, hospital or public agency. Furthermore, this proposed singular medical building is neither a complex of buildings or an office park as some have suggested or led to believe.
I haven’t heard anyone describing the Hospital’s Morgan Street proposal as a complex of buildings. But, the large medical office building with many different medical groups employing doctors and staff to serve multitudes of clients and patients on a daily basis would most certainly be best described as a busy medical office complex. Neither the Comprehensive Plan Committee nor the City Council gave much thought to the revision which would make this project possible. It is time for the City Council to re-visit this issue.
It has been referenced as a complex (compound) and an office park by some and in fairness to the architectural description, it is neither. It is only a building. Birch Run may have to selectively introduce plantings as it did when the adjacent garden apartments were developed to screen that view, that like this one, was not protected or promised.
As I recall, in the last go around, the hospital was wiling to work with the neighbors regarding building a berm to ameliorate any noise issues, use downlighting to address light pollution (which may or may not happen if you have houses, apartments, etc.) and regarding landscaping. There is little reason to believe they won’t be willing to do the same this time, if it comes to that.
The removal of one’s wisdom teeth can be referenced as a routine procedure by most dental professionals, but to a novice 15-year-old, it is oral surgery and quite disconcerting. Language matters and characterizing the program requirements of a singular medical building as complex rather than an image of a solitary structure sited in the least offensive portion of a site, unlike perhaps those that chose to position their structures as close to and over the required setback, is quite another.
Even with a small practice, the complexities of the divisions of services from one’s arrival and reception to exams and radiology to operatories and recovery can be defined as complex in order for the professional staff to best service their patients, yet at one time, most often, these were located in renovated residential homes that were permitted a zoning variance to practice. Most often those dental offices provided off street parking, but patients invariable utilized the front door in those restricted alterations and parked on the street.
I certainly understand the positions taken by both sides in this argument. I would prefer to see some responsibility and recognition for those decisions that initially resulted in residents close to the property line believing that their long view was in some way a protected vista or parkland. The tone resulting against the hospital and the political rabble-rousing by some of the usual suspects who do not live in this neighborhood but choose as always, to turn their web pages into another opportunity to assail the city council is most unfortunate.
I would like to see the hospital model the vistas from the adjacent parcels in order for the residents to better recognize what is proposed. Like x-rays, some people can see things in plan that others do not. I can also imagine a barrier placed around this parcel with its vegetation removed and offered for sale. Developing the site for apartments would result in the latter. Clearly some discourse, but cool heads must prevail. On the bucolic image of an open field alongside a certified well trafficked roadway where these neighbors must navigate on foot sharing the road with vehicles is both a public safety and risk manager’s nightmare.
Maybe they should build underground.
Plant a nice forest with green canopy; above.
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