After a suit by the Greentree Foundation, the Town of North Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals will make a second decision on the North Shore University Hospital proposed expansion. The hospital, which is in the Northwell Health network, would like to add a seven-story advanced surgical pavilion.
The advanced surgical pavilion would have two floors of parking, a lobby, OR suites, a catwalk, ICU suites, two floors of ICU beds and a mechanical penthouse at the top. North Shore has already lowered the height of the potential pavilion by 20 feet. They have also changed the exterior of the building to make the lights look less visible at night and glass that mirrors the sky during the day.
North Shore was at the latest Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Associations meeting in May to give an update on the project and to ask the council for any feedback.
“It’s providing state-of-the-art operating rooms, which are definitely needed because their current operating rooms are currently outdated and they need to bring a lot more technology into them,” said Richard Bentley, the president of the Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Associations. “Equally important portions of the building are the expanded patients’ rooms so they can begin to renovate the older main facility that they have. They are learning that most of their patients want a more private room setting where as they got multiple patient occupancy rooms in their main building it would provide them the ability to give them more personalized care in a private setting. It’s not just a new OR.”
The $325 million expansion would be approximately 27 feet from the Greentree Foundation’s property, according to their lawyer Jeffrey Forchelli. The foundation has provided North Shore with gifts and land in previous years, but is concerned about environmental issues and the sightseeing of the pavilion from Greentree.
In January, Greentree filed an exhibit 78 lawsuit after the Board of Zoning Appeals’(BZA) decision to accept the proposal from Northwell Health.
“They believe that this building is over the top, it is too big and it has not really had the environmental study that it should have,” said Forchelli. “Greentree wants to bring this matter to a close and resolve it. What we told the matter the zoning board was, they have two levels of parking in this building, if they remove those two levels of parking and put it somewhere else on the campus, that would lower the building two stories. That would be one thing, and the second thing is they got to adequately study water usage and water conservation, including retrofitting buildings so they use a lot less water. If those two things are agreed to, that is the end of the lawsuit.”
North Shore did not provide the BZA with a State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and Greentree filed suit citing this. In this suit, Greentree states “The petitioner claims various violations of the State Environmental Quality Review Act review process and that the BZA failed to properly assess Northwell’s application.”
“Originally, they had not done a SEQRA study because they were concerned of the extent of timeframe that it would add to their construction process,” said Bentley. “But if they had realized that it was going to take as long of a process without the study they would have revaluated that decision and performed the SEQRA study earlier in the process.”
State of New York Supreme Court Justice Thomas Feinman sent the case back to the BZA to allow them to garner more information and make a second ruling on the project. There is no timetable for when the BZA will make their decision, according to Forchelli.
Northwell Health denied a request for an interview, but did release a statement provided by North Shore University Hospital Associate Executive Director Derek Anderson stating: “The surgical pavilion at North Shore University Hospital accommodates the future health care needs of the community. It provides local residents with advanced surgical capabilities and intensive care in a modern environment. The project is investing in jobs and critical community and public health infrastructure; it also provides for the advances in technology and medicine. Additionally, the building accommodates the current rising demand for surgical services, specifically related to heart and liver transplantation, neurosurgery, spinal and orthopedic surgery, among other complex services—all of which are high-quality programs at North Shore, offered close to home for residents of Long Island.”