Last November a suit brought by neighbors to block Saratoga Hospital’s proposed office complex was dismissed by the courts. The neighbors then filed the required notice to appeal the court’s decision. So the litigation over the Hospital’s plans continues.
Saratoga Hospital recently had a preliminary meeting with the Planning Board during which they presented maps describing their plans for expansion on the three lots they will be developing.
In addition to the proposed 75,000 square foot medical office building they are seeking to build, they included in their sketches three possible additional office buildings.
They are also proposing to designate an area to be used as a community garden. The current plan is to include a greenhouse.
Transparency and “Segmentation”
There is a concept in land-use/development called “segmentation.”
Historically some developers would often hide the true scope of their ambitions by submitting a plan that was a fraction of what they actually hoped to construct. They would tell the Planning Board and the community, “we just want to build this little subdivision,” when in fact they would have options on a huge area and plan to build a massive housing development. This is an example of what is known in SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act) parlance as “segmentation”.
The site maps presented by the Hospital include three additional 10,000 square foot offices. According to the Hospital they have no current plans to construct these offices at this point, but they are included in the maps because, according to the Hospital, they represent the most likely development scenario for the full buildout of the site. Since it is possible that they may want to expand and build these three additional 10,000 square foot buildings at some point in the future, providing this information offers transparency and complies with the SEQRA regulations which disfavor segmentation in the overwhelming majority of development projects.
The Hospital is planning to create a “campus.” The maps document that the Hospital may construct additional buildings in three phases.
The Hospital thinks they may be able to do some prep work on the first phase of construction of the primary medical office building late this year if their plan is approved, but realistically they do not expect to actually begin to occupy the facility until 2023.
At the time the Hospital receives a certificate of occupancy for the main medical building, they will begin moving medical practices into the building. The relocation of these practices to the Morgan Street building will continue as the Hospital’s outside leases expire. Currently the Hospital has an extensive network of leased space throughout the area for its doctors and administrative needs. As those leases expire, the medical staff currently practicing in the leased space will move to the Morgan Street building. This process will take a year or longer to complete.
The following are the maps they presented to the Planning Board with some commentary by me to help readers understand them.
Where The Lots Are Located
Map Showing Buildable Areas
This map shows the area available for construction. Two of the lots/parcels are zoned OMB2 (Office Medical Building). The lot outlined in yellow is zoned UR1. Under our zoning laws because the two lots are contiguous the owner of both lots is allowed to use the zoning of one lot to extend into the other. In this case, the lot designated OMB2 which allows for parking can extend for one hundred feet into the UR1 lot (less forty foot setback). This explains the vertical line in the middle of the yellow outlined lot which is the demarcation for the extension of the OMB2 standard. The dashed line immediately to the left of the demarcation line shows the side yard setback applicable in this circumstance.
The area in the upper left corner of the map shows the location of a sanitary sewer line, a utility easement, and an ingress/egress easement in favor of the owner of the townhouse closest to the hospital property.
This map has more information about the site. The white arrows identify “view sheds.”
Viewsheds are commonly used in terrain analysis, which is of interest to urban planning, archaeology, and military science. In urban planning, for example, viewsheds tend to be calculated for areas of particular scenic or historic value that are deemed worthy of preservation against development or other change. Viewsheds are often calculated for public areas — for example, from public roadways, public parks, or high-rise buildings. The preservation of viewsheds is frequently a goal in the designation of open space areas, green belts, and community separators.wikipedia
The map also identifies other significant elements of the site. The orange area provides storm retention which I assume deals with controlling runoff in the area.
There is an area which appears in green on the right side of the property that is identified as an “easement/lot line adjustment.” Prior to the hospital’s purchase of the property from D.A. Collins, D.A. Collins entered into an agreement with the Gordon brothers who own the adjacent land. This would allow runoff from the land owned by the Gordon Brothers into this identified area.
This is a view of the “campus.” It is a rough image of the currently proposed first phase. The grey lines/arrows show the vehicle travel patterns. The orange lines are the pedestrian flow. The “campus core” is simply the center of the campus.
On the left side of the map is the Markey Estate. The estate was purchased by the hospital in 2014 under a contract that did include a substantial gift from Mr. and Mrs. DiCresce, the former owners. In the first phase of the project, the hospital plans to modify this structure for their use which would include, among other things, offices for the Saratoga Hospital Foundation.
The light colored circles are the currently planned locations where vehicles will be able to access and exit the campus.