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Litigation treatment! Activists sue Methodist over expansion

Endangered: These brownstones are among those facing the wrecking ball to make way for the outpatient center.
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These Slopers still have some fight left in them.

A Park Slope activist group is suing New York Methodist Hospital in a last-ditch effort to halt the medical center’s planned expansion, which it says will overwhelm the neighborhood with traffic, smog, and out-of-place architecture. The city has approved the project, but the latest attempt to block it is based on the claim, often used by anti-development activists, that an environmental study has to be done before construction can proceed.

“It seems to me that Methodist has not been playing by the rules or following the letter of the law,” said Eve Gartner, a member of Preserve Park Slope, which is bringing the suit. “When you do something this big and fundamentally altering of the community, you need to play by the rules.”

Preserve Park Slope has been doing battle with Methodist for more than a year since the hospital first announced its plan to build an eight-story, U-shaped outpatient center along Fifth Street, Eighth Avenue, and Sixth Street. The new building is slated to include a surgery facility, an urgent-care center, a 300-spot parking garage, and a cancer center, among other facilities.

The Board of Standards and Appeals signed off on the project in June despite a series of detailed counter-arguments by opponents, including a plan they drew up for a lower-slung version of the facility.

The latest offensive seeks to have the approval process voided for supposedly violating laws that require a detailed environmental impact statement created in consultation with multiple government agencies, rather than Methodist’s more cursory environmental assessment.

“A project of this size presumptively requires an EIS, but that wasn’t done here,” Gartner said.

The litigants also claim that Methodist has not shown why the expansion is necessary in the first place.

Methodist tweaked its plans several times before getting city approval, and a spokeswoman for the hospital said the new lawsuit was “without merit” and could stall a project that is vital to the community.

“We are disappointed that a small, special-interest group has chosen to ignore the land use process and file this suit,” Lyn Hill said. “It could delay construction of the Center for Community Health, a facility that will bring much-needed access to cutting-edge outpatient healthcare to Brooklyn residents.”

Methodist has not announced when demolition will begin on the 16 townhouses in the expansion’s footprint, some of them dating to the 19th century, or when construction on the new facility will begin, but there is no indication the lawsuit has slowed the process so far. A search of property records turned up no demolition permits on any of the threatened townhouses. The Department of Buildings would have to approve such permits before work could start.

Updated 5:53 pm, July 28, 2014
Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhurowitz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
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Reasonable discourse

Charles from Bklyn says:
A community fighting for its health, welfare and safety is not frivolous. When a development holds the potential to disrupt and destroy a community's well being, there is an expectation the community will demand accountability from the government and officals that sanction that development. All parties must obey and law and the rules of a civil society.
July 28, 2014, 8:11 am
bb from south slope says:
So many other places this could have gone. So many other nonadversarial approaches that could have been taken. Destroying the quality of life for residents will only drive more people from NYC
July 28, 2014, 8:59 am
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
These Brownstones couldn't get a petition from the landmarks and preservation commission? How come Methodist doesn't demolish the parking structures to build on? There is a huge parking lot across the street as well as a garage.
July 28, 2014, 9:30 am
eb from south slope says:
It's a shame that Methodist is focusing on expanding their buildings instead of delivering better care to patients. It shouldn't take 7 hours for someone going to their ER to get help for a severe lung problem, for instance, or for someone to die of a burst appendix after waiting 15 hours in their ER. They're a terrible hospital.
July 28, 2014, 9:57 am
Ed from PS says:
bb:

Drive more people from New York?

New York is growing so rapidly, it's now hit 8.4 million an all time record. People are moving here by the 10's of thousands every year.

Do you just make things up to support your point of view?

I live around the corner from here and am delighted that a hospital is making improvements to support the community. You're all a bunch of ignorant NIMBY'S. with too much time and too little brains. THAT is a fact.
July 28, 2014, 3:08 pm
Ed from PS says:
Just some facts for clueless BB:

1698 4,937 —
1712 5,840 18.3%
1723 7,248 24.1%
1737 10,664 47.1%
1746 11,717 9.9%
1756 13,046 11.3%
1771 21,863 67.6%
1790 49,401 126.0%
1800 79,216 60.4%
1810 119,734 51.1%
1820 152,056 27.0%
1830 242,278 59.3%
1840 391,114 61.4%
1850 696,115 78.0%
1860 1,174,779 68.8%
1870 1,478,103 25.8%
1880 1,911,698 29.3%
1890 2,507,414 31.2%
1900 3,437,202 37.1%
1910 4,766,883 38.7%
1920 5,620,048 17.9%
1930 6,930,446 23.3%
1940 7,454,995 7.6%
1950 7,891,957 5.9%
1960 7,781,984 −1.4%
1970 7,894,862 1.5%
1980 7,071,639 −10.4%
1990 7,322,564 3.5%
2000 8,008,288 9.4%
2010 8,175,133 2.1%
2013 8,405,837 2.8%
July 28, 2014, 3:10 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Maybe if Methodist Hospital built their expansion on a commercial block rather than a residential block, there wouldn't be that much opposition.
July 28, 2014, 3:20 pm
Lana from PSLOPE says:
The people who oppose this are the same bunch of MORONS who said the area around the Barclays was going to turn into a mall of fast food chains. Instead, prices are UP, businesses are flourishing and crime is down.

But because of their opposition, instead of a world class beautiful building we got a piece of rusted metal due to their dragging things out....ALL BASED ON LIES AND MISINFORMATION!

Nimby's are the worst. Liberal yet so closed minded. I live around here and welcome all investments by Methodist Hospital. They saved my cousin and my brother.
July 28, 2014, 4:53 pm
Jay from NYC says:
Tal maybe if you lived here you would know that the block is heavily commercial already.
But then again if you commented on where you actually lived you wouldn't be able to talk about Israel, anti-car Hamas plots and all the other things that you post about that are so super important.
July 28, 2014, 5:19 pm
ty from pps says:
Why do people dislike the design of the Barclay's Center? I really like the "rusted" surface, the shape, the lighting effects among the slats, etc. It's quite nice... and I'd even suggest "world class."
July 28, 2014, 9:18 pm
Roberto from Brooklyn Heights says:
My daughter and her family live across from Methodist Hospital; they experienced the effect of after-hours construction when the 7th Street wing went up a few years ago. Since 7th Street is now congested day and night with ambulances, residents are now forced to live with idling ambulances 24/7, partially caused by the overflow linked to the closing of Long Island College Hospital. A big question is: Do the plans for the new expansion of Methodist include an after-hours variance? Will work go on between 7 pm and 7 am? Those are the hours designated as protected times for sleep and tranquility under the NYC Noise Code. If that is the case, why would a hospital take actions that degrade public health? Moving the lens wider, since Brooklyn's population has increased so greatly, isn't Governor Cuomo's decision to close Long Island College Hospital a colossal mistake?
July 29, 2014, 9:48 am
ty from pps says:
Roberto -- I don't disagree with most of your comment. HOWEVER, to be very clear. It was Gov. Cuomo's decision to not *prevent* the closure of LICH. He didn't decide to close it. The owners of the hospital decided to close it. There were many things the governor AND the legislature could have *actively* done to save LICH, but they went the passive route -- they got out of the way.
July 29, 2014, 3:22 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
There is a difference between a hospital and a sports arena. A hospital actually serves a community while a sports arena doesn't. I'm not against the expansion of Methodist Hospital, I just think that are better places to put the expansion rather than where someone lives. BTW, how could those opposing where the expansion is going be NIMBYs when it's actually going on their property hence not living with it?
July 29, 2014, 3:44 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ed, would you be feeling the same way if this was going on your property, plus can you cut the personal attacks?
July 29, 2014, 4:10 pm
ty from pps says:
Umm... Tal, sweetie pie, how exactly is the hospital expansion "actually going on their property"? The hospital OWNS the property.
July 29, 2014, 4:21 pm
Ed from PS says:
Tal,

When you are as informed as you are, one has no choice.

The hospital owns the property. Period.

The people you reference do not own the property, thus they have no rights to the development of said property.

Do you understand how this works?
July 29, 2014, 4:23 pm
jay from nyc says:
Ok Tim you have now engaged in age discrimination. Congrats you are a bigot. I find it amazing that BP will delete Tys comments when he calls Tal an entitled idiot, but then allows bigoted comments smearing an entire community of people to stand. Shame on you too BP.
July 29, 2014, 7:28 pm
frank from furter says:
Ty...
No one I know of and no architect, architect critic, or any one else thinks that the SHOP design of the Barclay is a great design. I don't think Ratner thinks so. Its clearly a journey person's design done on the cheap to replace the eclectic Frank Gehry design that I wasn't trilled with either but that is another story. Frankly I think it looks like a waffle potato chip(maybe a sweet potato one given the color) but not world class. Functional yes (although isn't there an issue whether it will "work' for hockey?) You are of course entitled to your opinion....my chief complaint has been that the affordable housing should have been built with the stadium/arena and not have to wait until the next round(IMO). we have been bait and switched enough on that.
July 29, 2014, 11:09 pm
frank from furter says:
Was LICH Governor Cuomo's? decision?...
well you can argue that he didn't own the land BUT he appointed the majority of the Board who decided that and if you know anything about him HE made the decision to close it. His Commissioner of Health also had to sign off on the closing and while they(for good reason) chose to save Interfaith and Brooklyn Hospital, they had more than enough money in the slush funds in the Health Department and because of the money from the Feds to save LICH if they really wanted to. They also set the medicaid rates for these hospitals that are largely responsible for whether they get enough money to stay open. So while it might be technically correct that he didn't close it, I personally and the facts do show that it was his decision to.
July 29, 2014, 11:15 pm
frank from furter says:
and finally ULURP. Its technically correct that the Methodist issues didn't go through formal ULURP...although they did go through what was required under the law(a court may decide otherwise on appeal however). Even if they went through ULURP that doesn't mean that an EIS is required...its not always.
The major difference between the formal ULURP process and the Board of Standards and Appeals decision is this is no vote by the City Councilor review by the Mayor to approve or reject the decision of the City Planning Commissioner. They still go through advisory review by the Community Board, Boro President and the Council member for the district concerned is solicited for their opinion.
July 29, 2014, 11:30 pm
frank from furter says:
opps two typos in the last posting its should be City Council or review by the Mayor.
and its the City Planning Commission not Commissioner.
July 29, 2014, 11:34 pm
Roberto from Brooklyn Heights says:
Thank you for Frank from Furter's clarification of how Governor Cuomo watched from the back of the room as others acted as hit men against LICH is an example of a nuanced explanation.
July 30, 2014, 8:30 am
Pietro from Park Slope says:


As a pedestrian in the Slope, who also drives
occasionally, I don't see how the expansion of
Methodist can accomedate the traffic coming to
the hospital. but since it's all on the streets and sidewalk, I guess it's not their problem-Right?
July 30, 2014, 1:25 pm
T from Brooklyn Heights says:
More NIMBY liberals complaining. Where would folks prefer that the hospital goes? I wonder if they would be complaining if it were another high rise, dog park, or Barnes and Noble. Where were these folks when people were being displaced (not merely inconvenienced) when Barclays Center was built?
July 31, 2014, 3:08 pm
CarlK from Methodist says:
Excuse me but since you asked, I would prefer that the hospital go to LICH as the location for it's new out patient facility. They can have everything they need for a cancer center, ambulatory surgeries & other out-patient services at LICH & put their own name on it. That hospital is easy to get to right off the highway AND there's already a 7 story parking garage over there. It makes no sense to destroy one hospital when another one needs to expand to new space. Somebody should have put 2 & 2 together a long time ago & come to the logic solution.
Methodist should have bid for LICH & moved those out-patient facilities to that property in Cobble Hill. Interestingly, Methodist says they can't do that because it is imperative that out patient services be attached to a hospital in case of emergency. At the same time, the state says that LICH doesn't have to be a hospital because the out patient services and free-standing "emergency room" don't need to be attached to a hospital as patients can be transported by ambulance in an emergency. A Direct contradiction. Can't make both arguments here - So which is it? The judge hearing this case is the same one who heard the LICH case for over a year & a half. He must feel like he's having a nightmare that he can't wake up from.
PS
For the record, Cuomo ordered SUNY to kill LICH. He tried to do it himself in 2010/2011 when he was attorney general - for his buddy Jeff Sachs & the benefit of that guy's client, Brooklyn Hospital. But the NYTimes reported on it & he backed down. When he became Governor, he had SUNY act as his hitmen & do his bidding. Don't for one minute think he was "passive" & had nothing to do with this fiasco.
Aug. 1, 2014, 12:27 am

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