Elizabethtown Community Hospital purchased a parcel across from the hospital grounds, which will be developed further at a later date.
Elizabethtown officials and administration for the Elizabethtown Community Hospital will attempt to solve a parking issue at the Sept. 20 meeting of the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals.
The hospital recently purchased a parcel located across the street from the facility and Horace Nye Nursing Home, which was previously had several uses, including as a car wash.
According to Jane Hooper, the hospital cleaned up, graded and used crushed stone to create a level parking area for its staff on this piece of property.
“Once complete, the hospital was approached by Code Officer John Hudson at the request of Zoning Board of Appeals Chair Ron Testa,” Hooper said. “He indicated that we needed approval from the town Planning Board to use this property for temporary parking. The Planning Board informed ECH that it actually needed to obtain approval from the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals, led by Testa, so we completed an application and submitted it to the ZBA.”
Town Supervisor Margaret Bartley said that ZBA members have been talking about the application since July, making sure that they made the proper decision in accordance to land-use laws.
“We have a land-use law and in it there is a process that you need to go through,” Bartley said. “Our law follows New York state law, and it is like all permitting processes.”
At the Aug. 16 meeting of the ZBA, ECH attorney Matt Murnane said that the hospital would withdraw its use variance request application in order to refile the request and provide more detailed information, which would be prepared for a hearing at the Sept. 22 meeting.
Hooper said that while the future use of the purchased property had not been determined, they did have an idea to help patients and visitors while providing additional parking areas for staff.
“The hospital’s main parking lot should be utilized, as much as possible, for patients,” Hooper said. “ECH purchased the property for potential future use. Long-term plans have yet to be determined. In the meantime, we would like to use the property for temporary parking for staff.”
Currently, the hospital has 81 parking spaces; 11 of those handicapped. Hooper said that daily, there are 150-plus staff members along with a number of students and 52 outpatient visits, not including visitors. Helicopter landing at ECH is a factor, as cars must be removed from the main parking lot.
“This removes clinical staff from the building, creates an incredible amount of congestion along Park Street and contributes to a significant safety issue in the area,” Hooper said.
Both Hooper and Bartley said they were hopeful the matter would be resolved Sept. 20.
“We are hoping that this will all be resolved at that point,” Hooper said.
“We have sent out letters from the ZBA to the appropriate property owners about the hearing date,” Bartley said. “This is in the hands of the ZBA now, and I hope that they get the changes that they feel they need and we can get things done legally and protect the neighborhood from a zoning sense.”