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Posted at 3:43 PM ET, 10/19/2010

Board to rule on Suburban expansion

By Washington Post editors

A Montgomery County zoning appeals board is scheduled to decide Wednesday whether Suburban Hospital should be allowed to tear down 23 hospital-owned houses as part of expansion plans that are opposed by an adjacent neighborhood.

During two hours of oral arguments before the board Sept. 15, lawyers for Suburban objected to a hearing examiner’s ruling in June that the Bethesda hospital should change its $200 million expansion proposal to abide by long-standing county plans to keep a residential feel along Old Georgetown Road. The hospital says it needs to expand to meet requirements for medical facilities and offer physician office space.

A lawyer for the Huntington Terrace Citizens’ Association, which includes 300 homes mostly west of Suburban, said the group supports Suburban’s need to expand but believes it can do so without tearing down houses.

The proposal also would close part of Lincoln Street off Old Georgetown Road. Hospital officials say they need to close the street to unify the hospital campus, while neighbors say it would increase traffic on local roads and block a major access route to Old Georgetown.

Either side can appeal the five-member board’s decision to the Montgomery County Circuit Court.

The decision is expected to come as part of a public work session that begins at 11 a.m. at the County Council Building, 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville.

-- Katherine Shaver

By Washington Post editors  | October 19, 2010; 3:43 PM ET
Categories:  Maryland  
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