Press-Republican

December 4, 2013

City OKs nursing home expansion

JOE LoTEMPLIO
Press-Republican

PLATTSBURGH — The expansion of Meadowbrook Healthcare moved a step closer to fruition with City of Plattsburgh Zoning Board approval of two requests.

The Zoning Board gave Meadowbrook a variance for lack of required parking and open space and also granted a special-use permit to expand from a 200-bed facility to 287 beds.

STARTED WITH 120 BEDS

Meadowbrook is a skilled-nursing and rehabilitation center located at 154 Prospect Ave. It has been eyeing expansion for several years after receiving approval from the New York State Department of Health.

The facility initially opened in 1974 with 120 beds. It expanded in 1987 to 200.

PROJECT ADJUSTED

Manager Paul Richards said they initially wanted to build another free-standing facility at a cost of about $45 million, but the recession of 2008 and lower reimbursements from the federal Medicaid and Medicare programs halted those plans.

“It just made that project unsustainable,” he said.

The planned expansion would cost about $15 million.

Richards said there is a need for more nursing-home services in the area.

“This county is under-bedded in terms of skilled-nursing beds,” he said.

“There is quite a need. They are getting backed up in the hospital.”

LESS OPEN SPACE

David Schopfer, the architect for the Meadowbrook expansion, told Zoning Board members recently that the addition would cut into the open space on the property.

Instead of having at least 50 percent of the property dedicated to open spa, the site will drop down to 39 percent, thus requiring the variance.

PARKING SHORTAGE

The expansion would also require 295 parking spaces, but only 204 would be available.

Schopfer said parking is not an issue because the residents of Meadowbrook do not have vehicles.

“The parking is for employees and visitors,” he said.

Resident Marla Wolkowicz, who lives next door to Meadowbrook, said she was concerned that the expansion would infringe upon her privacy.

At the urging of Zoning Board members, Schopfer said they would work with Wolkowicz and other neighbors to ensure they would not be affected.

SITE REVIEW AHEAD

Zoning Board members unanimously approved both requests from Meadowbrook with little discussion.

The expansion project must now go to the City Planning Board for site-plan review.

Meadowbrook is also in the process of obtaining funding for the expansion from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Renewal.

Richards said if all goes well, work on the expansion could begin in the spring of 2015. The work is expected to take about a year.

Email Joe LoTemplio:jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com