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Jamaica Hospital looks to expand

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Jamaica Hospital wants to expand its facility to the opposite side of the Van Wyck Expressway by obtaining a city-owned building between the Jamaica and Atlantic avenues overpasses.

Representatives from the hospital and the city Economic Development Corporation asked for support June 20 from Community Board 12, which covers the Jamaica area.

The building was taken over by the city from an auto auction house in January after the owner failed to pay taxes for several years, said Diana Lee, an attorney representing the hospital in its bid for the property.

The Federal Auction Company is still occupying the building at 90-09 Van Wyck Expressway on the east side of the highway across from the hospital’s main campus.

It is plastered with bright signs advertising the auto auctions and Lee implied that it stands out as an eyesore on the highway by commenting on how the signs have become more obtrusive.

The hospital would use the building as the center of operations for its home health-care agency, Lee said. Nurses would report to the building in the morning for their assignments and then head out to patients’ homes.

“We feel this project has substantial benefits to the community,” Lee said. “It would generate construction jobs and employ additional nurses from the community.”

The building would house office space and act as a storage facility for equipment such as crutches and catheters, which home care nurses use regularly.

The doctors will not be making visits to the center from the hospital because the physicians are concerned about crossing the highway, Lee said. But the nurses will be driving to the center directly from home and will not have to traverse the highway on foot.

About 100 parking spots would be required by zoning laws for such a building, but the hospital does not anticipate that many will be needed because nurses will be making house calls throughout the day and will not occupy a parking place for a full shift.

Max Sclair, the vice president of human resources, said he estimated about 70 spaces would fit on the lot and he would probably be returning to the community board to request fewer than 100 spaces. The board is the first step in the approval process to allow such changes in zoning regulations.

Sclair said the new building would improve the hospital by freeing up more space on the main campus on the west side of the highway, so the extremely cramped dental facility could be expanded.

The community board approved a measure last week that will allow the city to sell the building and three other lots, two of which are on Eveleth Road and one at 196th Street.

The board members also approved an application from Rochdale Auto Parts to extend the permit for its auto supply shop on Merrick Boulevard after delaying the decision from the previous meeting in May.

Last month Community Board 12 members expressed concerns about unauthorized car repairs at Rochdale Auto Parts store at 134-042/60 Guy Brewer Blvd. near 137th Avenue in South Jamaica.

The store, located on a commercial strip in a residential area, was granted a permit to operate 15 years ago and wanted to renew it, which the board has on several conditions.

The board set several conditions for the renewal: the permit will be for five years instead of 15 years, a gate will keep the store’s lot off limits at night, a sign will outlaw the installation of parts on the store’s property and employees will work with police to discourage customers from installing parts on the nearby public streets.

The shop has also promised that employees will not conduct car repairs of any kind on the premises.

Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300 Ext. 138.

Posted 7:08 pm, October 10, 2011
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