Saratoga Hospital is looking to add senior citizen housing — including assisted-living apartments — at its medical campus near Northway Exit 12.
The town Planning Board has approved the idea in concept, and the Town Board on Monday will discuss whether to schedule a workshop on the zoning changes that would be needed.
What’s being proposed would amend the Saratoga Medical Park at Malta’s zoning to permit apartments and drop what had been long-term plans for a nursing home, said town Senior Planner Sophia Marruso. There isn’t a specific number of apartments being proposed yet, she said.
“This is not action-oriented, but just setting up the process,” Marruso said Friday.
The location off Route 67, northwest of Exit 12, is where the hospital in 2013 opened a $15 million emergent-care center, staffed around the clock and providing almost all the services available in a hospital emergency room. Ever since the hospital bought the former standardbred horse farm in 2008, its plans have called for a large complex that could someday evolve into a full-service hospital, with the potential for a nursing home, apartments and doctor’s offices.
The town approved a planned-development district for the site that allows development in phases over 20 years or more.
What’s now being proposed would permit the hospital to build up to three senior citizen apartment buildings, each as much as four stories high. The application was filed in November and given a favorable nod by the town Planning Board earlier this month.
“It’s a little bit of a change. It’s still part of a medical park vision,” said town Supervisor Paul J. Sausville.
Plans for the nursing home would be dropped from the zoning approval, apparently because of questions about whether the state Health Department could allow it.
The proposed area for the apartments is north of the emergent-care center and leaves room for construction of a full hospital around the emergent-care center, Planning Board Chairman Bill Smith said.
The Planning Board’s positive referral sends the matter to the Town Board for final action. The agenda for Monday’s Town Board meeting says the board will consider scheduling a workshop discussion for late January.
“It’s up to the Town Board,” Sausville said. “I would think they would want a workshop, taking some time to understand what the implications are, before deciding whether to move forward.”
If the Town Board agrees to the zoning changes the hospital wants, the hospital would still have to come back later for approval of detailed plans.
Town officials still hope the northern part of the 140-acre property can see some sort of equine use, though a proposal last year for the hospital to lease 30 acres to a thoroughbred retirement organization fell through.
The northern part of the property still has fences and barns visible from the Northway from the time when the property was a highly visible breeding and training facility for harness-racing horses.