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City board delays approval of new LIJ Hospital garage

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The city Board of Standards and Appeals ordered representatives of Long Island Jewish Medical Center to address several issues of concern to the surrounding community before it would approve a new seven-level parking garage.

"There were a large number of questions that they asked us to respond to, and we will respond to them," said hospital attorney Martin Baker of the June 3 hearing in Manhattan.

Baker refused to give specific details about which issues the BSA was concerned with. But Rich Hellenbrecht, chairman of Community Board 13, said the board wanted the hospital to address the nine conditions the community board attached to its approval of the project back in April.

Those concerns included keeping the cost of parking low and providing sufficient access to the new facility.

Bernie Brandt, vice president of the Lost Community Civic Association, which represents area homeowners, said most of the discussion centered around building an access road connecting the garage to Marcus Avenue on the Nassau County side of the campus.

Community members have repeatedly asked for such an access road, in the hopes that it would reduce traffic flow on the nearby streets of New Hyde Park. But LIJ representatives have continually countered that the project would require acquisition of property to which they have no right - either a piece held by Astoria Federal Savings Bank or a another controlled by Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation.

Parker, which until recently had not voiced a public opinion on the issue, surprised many by issuing what amounted to an ultimatum. Those at the meeting recounted that a Parker representative said the institute would support the garage only if it were guaranteed space in the facility. Otherwise, Parker would actively oppose it.

Parker representatives could not be reached for comment.

According to Brandt, BSA Chairman James Chin told Parker and LIJ, "You fellows get together on this and let's see a finished product when you come back."

Brandt hailed the hearing as a victory for the community.

"The hospital was left with egg on their face," he said.

But hospital officials played it down, suggesting that it was all part of a process that was not expected to be quick.

"I don't think there was anything on there that would give us real issues," LIJ's vice president for project management, Bernard Dubin, said of the resolution. "A few minor issues, but nothing significant."

Reach reporter Alex Ginsberg by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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