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Posted at 3:37 PM ET, 01/ 5/2011

Suburban's expansion plans appealed

By Katherine Shaver

A Bethesda homeowners group is appealing an October zoning decision that would allow Suburban Hospital to demolish hospital-owned houses to build a 300,000-square-foot addition and a four-story parking garage.

The Huntington Terrace Citizens’ Association, whose residents live adjacent to the hospital on Old Georgetown Road, filed a notice of appeal with the Montgomery County Circuit Court on Tuesday. The neighborhood group will argue that the Montgomery County’s zoning appeals board applied “incorrect legal standards” when it approved the hospital’s $230 million expansion plans, said Amy Shiman, president of the citizens’ association.

Leslie Ford Weber, a senior vice president for Suburban, said she had not reviewed the appeal but that the hospital expected it.

The group is also alleging that Catherine Titus, the appeals board chair, had a conflict of interest through her husband, Roger W. Titus, a federal judge in Maryland. Roger Titus served on Suburban’s board of trustees from 1986 to 2000, according to his court biography. Shiman said he donated money to the Suburban Hospital Foundation and has written previously about the hospital’s need for physician office space on site.

Catherine Titus responded Wednesday through the appeals board staff, who sent two previous statements she had made when denying the association’s requests for her recusal from the case. Titus said her husband served on Suburban’s board when the hospital had a different president and trustees, and that she had no bias in the case. Without her vote, Titus said, the board would lack the supermajority required.

By Katherine Shaver  | January 5, 2011; 3:37 PM ET
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