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CB15 rejects developer’s bid to expand Avenue P medical center

No way: Locals rejected a developer’s plans to rezone Avenue P in order to build a five-story addition to the NYU Langone Medical Center.
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They just don’t see the health benefit.

Community Board 15 rejected a developer’s proposal to rezone a swath of land along Avenue P in order to erect an additional five-story building to expand the NYU Langone Medical Center, because locals argued that the new building would only increase congestion in and already car-clogged neighborhood.

“It seems to me we are choking in traffic,” said CB15 member Morris Harary. “Notwithsta­nding the reputation of Langone, and notwithstanding the good work, the bad in a sense outweighs the good. The community cannot be choked.”

About 300 patients seek treatment at the existing five-story medical facility between E. 12th and E. 13th streets, but now Omni Enterprises wants to erect another connecting building right next door to provide even more healthcare services

. Currently, the area’s zoning only allows for a maximum building height of 33 feet — the current medical facility was built in 2000, before the city down-zoned the neighborhood — but owners want to rezone about two blocks worth of land along Avenue P so they can add on the new the 63-foot medical center.

Developers promised to provide 20 additional parking spots along with the new structure, but locals laughed that off, claiming that will not suffice for all of the traffic in the booming neighborhood already dizzy with construction.

The Kings Highway Business Improvement District also opposed the proposal, charging that there’s already too much development going on just blocks away, with the pair of massive, Kings Highway-adjacent office-and-retail buildings in the works, according to board chairwoman Theresa Scavo.

But several local patients commended the medical center proposal, and urged the community to support the expansion.

“The operation is first class, to have this expansion is great,” said Frank Izzo, who lives on E. 28th Street, “To deny this is kind of a negative thing, I think we should let this happen.”

Some locals feared the developers were seeking the zoning change — which would allow buildings up to nine stories — with the secret aim of building a residential high-rise, but the zoning attorney representing Omni Enterprises denied that.

“It is not our intention — our intention has been for the last 10 years to do a medical facility,” said Richard Lobel.

CB15 rejected the proposal by a 27–7 vote , with three abstentions and one abstention for cause, at its Oct. 24 meeting, but the action is non-binding. The application now goes to Borough President Adams, the City Planning Commission, the city Council, and then Mayor DeBlasio through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.

The proposal would face a tough road through the Council. Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay) said he usually votes along with the community board on such issues, and the full Council tends to follow the lead of the local councilmember.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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