Pretty please: Methodist Hospital hopes new designs will woo community board

The view of the proposed building from the corner of Eighth Avenue and Fifth Street.
New York Methodist Hospital

New York Methodist Hospital has gone back to the drawing board — again.

The Park Slope hospital has revamped its controversial plan for an eight-story U-shaped medical complex a third time in an effort to appease angry neighbors who predict the outpatient facility will clog their tree-lined streets with traffic and smog. The hospital will present “detailed changes” to portions of the Center for Community Health proposal and explain why its shape and size are essential and how it will affect car volume on the area’s narrow roads at a Jan. 6 meeting of Community Board 6’s land use committee, the same group that voted against the expansion in late November. A board leader said the hospital has been acting in good faith the whole time.

“It’s worth noting that the hospital’s plans have been evolving based on interactions with the community,” said Daniel Kummer, chair of Community Board 6, at a Wednesday meeting. “The plan they have on the table is tangibly different from what they presented last summer, and it does appear that there will be further tangible differences in what they would present in January, as well as additional information that our committee had found to be lacking in the [November] meeting.”

Methodist spokeswoman Lyn Hill declined to elaborate on specific changes to the hospital’s zoning variance bid, but she said the hospital is grateful for the board’s decision to wait until January to make a final recommendation to the city Board of Standard and Appeals, which will decide whether the hospital can put the center in place of 16 townhouses, some of them dating to the 19th century, on Fifth Street, Eighth Avenue, and Sixth Street. Without the city’s approval, the hospital could still build but would have to make the two new, connected buildings narrower and taller.

One Park Slope activist at Wednesday’s meeting said neighbors are wary of the hospital’s latest pledges.

“Until we see what the hospital is willing to change, it’s hard to predict to what degree the community might be assuaged,” said Park Slope Neighbors president Eric McClure.

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at mriesz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.

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