Saratoga Hospital has reduced the size of a medical office building it wants to build, a project that continues to draw opposition from neighbors in the adjacent residential area.
Hospital attorney Matthew Jones told the City Council on Tuesday that the maximum size of the proposed building has been reduced from 88,000 to 75,000 square feet — and the hospital will agree not to seek any expansion in the future.
“This is what we’re going to build, if we are permitted to do so, and that is all we are going to build,” Jones said, adding that the reduction in building size also would decrease the amount of parking needed.
Hospital officials want to construct a three-story office building on 16 acres of land on the north side of Morgan Street, about a block north of the hospital. The plan would require zoning approval from the City Council because the land is now zoned for residential use.
Hospital officials want to add it to the hospital’s planned unit development district.
Neighbors continued to speak out against the proposal at a public hearing Tuesday, as they did at a hearing in December, citing concerns about the impact on neighborhood character, decreased property values, increased traffic and other issues.
“I think the hospital is terrific, but maybe just not right there,” said resident Libby Smith-Holmes.
While hearing an hour of comment at Tuesday’s council meeting, Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen said the public hearing will be kept open for at least one more meeting, allowing the public to speak again at the Jan. 19 council meeting.
Hospital officials said they believe they’ve designed the building in a way that is sensitive to the neighborhood. They contend a medical office building close to the hospital is needed as the medical industry changes.
Staff doctors now work in leased spaces at different locations throughout the city — but hospital CEO Angelo Calbone said a central location within walking distance of the hospital would be preferable and would save money.
“If we are not able to do this project, over time it will throttle our ability to bring new physicians into the community,” he told the council.
The city Planning Board has recommended that the zoning change be approved. There is no timetable for the council to make its decision.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.
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