No decision yet on Suburban expansion
A Montgomery County zoning appeals board said Wednesday that it needs more time to decide whether Suburban Hospital should be allowed to tear down 23 hospital-owned houses as part of its expansion plans opposed by an adjacent neighborhood.
The board scheduled a work session and vote for Oct. 20.
During two hours of oral arguments Wednesday before the board in Rockville, 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.
Hospital lawyers said the 23 adjacent houses that it owns and rents out must be demolished and Lincoln Street, which bisects the hospital’s property, must be closed to unify the campus and accommodate state code requirements for the new buildings. The hospital plans to build reconfigured operating room space, additional private patient rooms, a parking garage, physicians’ offices and gardens.
A lawyer for the Huntington Terrace Citizens’ Association, which has 300 homes mostly west of Suburban, said the group supports Suburban’s need to expand but believes it can do so without tearing down the houses that add to the neighborhood’s residential feel and buffer homes from the hospital.
Either side can appeal the five-member board’s decision to the Montgomery County Circuit Court.
— Katherine Shaver
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