Park Slope group sues to halt New York Methodist expansion

Organization opposes hospital's plans to build large outpatient facility in resi neighborhood

Jul.July 22, 2014 08:00 AM

A Brooklyn community organization has filed suit to overturn a decision by the city Board of Standards and Appeals to approve plans for a new ambulatory care facility at New York Methodist Hospital in Park Slope.

The 800-member organization, called Preserve Park Slope, filed suit in Manhattan Supreme Court late last week seeking to reverse a series of variances that would enable New York Methodist to build the new facility in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

According to court filings, New York Methodist plans to develop a new 485,000-square-foot ambulatory care facility that would include doctors offices. The site would rise to 150 feet, overshadowing a number of low rise brownstones and other buildings that the plaintiffs claim would be “virtually walled in” by the new building and its two wings.

“As our complaint details, we believe the process to secure approval of these variances has been conducted with complete disregard to key elements of the law, including proper environmental review and recognition of the 2003 rezoning of the area approved by the City Planning Commission and the city council,” said Bennett Kleinberg, president of Preserve Park Slope. “Our community deserves a better analysis of why the hospital needs a building of this magnitude and how they will reduce the impact this expansion will have on our already overcrowded 19th-century streets before undertaking such a massive project.”

The project would involve the demolition of several low-rise buildings owned by New York Methodist, including five historic brownstones. The new facility is bordered by Fifth and Sixth streets and Seventh and Eighth avenues, located about a block west of Prospect Park.

Hospital officials pointed out that the vote was taken after a year of dialogue with the local Community Board and several hearings at the BSA, followed by a unanimous vote.

“We are disappointed that a small special interest group has chosen to ignore the land use process and file this suit,” said Lyn Hill, spokesperson for New York Methodist. “It could delay the construction of the Center for Community Health, a facility that will bring much-needed access to cutting edge outpatient healthcare to Brooklyn residents. We believe the suit is without merit.”

Butzel declined to elaborate on the suit, saying “we’ll have a lot more to say in two weeks.”

The New York City Law Department has not yet been served with the lawsuit, and said it will review the lawsuit upon receipt, according to officials.

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