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New York Methodist Hospital's Expansion Plan Meeting Community Opposition

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With two Brooklyn hospitals teetering on the edge of shutting down, the battle is continuing over New York Methodist Hospital's plans to expand, and though the hospital has already adjusted its plans once, it may have to do so again because of community opposition. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.

A group called Preserve Park Slope put together a video of how they say New York Methodist Hospital's proposed expansion will loom over the Park Slope neighborhood. The coalition is made up of about 300 residents who object to the hospital's plans.

"Please understand. We're not opposed to the expansion of Methodist Hospital," said Stuart Klein of Preserve Park Slope. "What we are opposed to, what the community is opposed to, is this level of expansion."

On Tuesday, those in favor and against the construction of a new facility made their case in front of the city's Board of Standards and Appeals. That's because Methodist needs zoning variances to build such a large building in the residential neighborhood, and it's the board that decides.

Methodist says it needs a state-of-the-art facility to stay competitive.

"The space that's required for all of the equipment, and the staff that are required in order to use all of that technology, actually commands a much larger room than what we currently have in our ambulatory surgical center in the hospital," said Lauren Yedvab, senior vice president of Methodist Hospital. "Imaging, robotic services, those all take up a lot more room, and therefore, we have to build it much larger in order to accommodate our growing needs."

What the hospital proposes is a U-shaped building that would keep most of its operations under one roof. This plan has been revised several times to accommodate community concerns about height, bulk and congestion.

The community board had given its conditional approval pending adjustments to the plan, but on Tuesday, it was not satisfied with the changes.

"Where it stands now is not where the community board would like to see it," said Daniel Kummer, the chair of Community Board 6.

"The proposed architectural design is inconsistent with the character of the historic neighborhood, poorly conceived, wrong for Park Slope, and the variances should be denied," said Daniel Abramson, a Park Slope resident.

The board made no decision Tuesday but did ask both sides to submit more supporting evidence. A second public hearing is scheduled for April 8.

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