The residents living around St. Mary's Hospital for Children in Bayside are not saying "Not in My Backyard." They're saying " 'Nuff in My Backyard."
That's because on Dec. 27, 2007, St. Mary's applied to the New York State Dept. of Health for a Certificate of Need (CON), application No. 062417, for a $105 million taxpayer-paid expansion. This project would add a five-story building to its facility, and according to local residents "obliterate air flow and scenic views," and bring in additional traffic, pollution and construction noise.
Baysiders sick of hospital's plans
[Mike] Pender is also angry that St. Mary's wants to expand in the middle of a totally residential neighborhood, after it turned down the site of the former Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Bellerose. "There are a number of narrow, dead-end streets that are already overflowing with current traffic and parking overflow from St. Mary's," Pender says. "The environmental impact that St. Mary's has inflicted on the neighborhood has been cumulative ... including drainage, runoff, excess noise, littering, increased traffic-related pollution."
But what ticks off residents like Pender most is that they claim St. Mary's administrators, who earn between $300,000 and $500,000 a year, made the application without consulting with the immediate community, or conducting an environmental impact study.
"St. Mary's continues to ignore the legitimate concerns of its immediate neighbors when planning to overdevelop its property at taxpayer expense," Pender says.
No one wants to stand in the way of improving the lives of sick kids. But shoving a $105 million five-story building, paid for by taxpayers, into the middle of a bedroom community is arrogant and counterproductive.
"For decades, when St. Mary's was run by Episcopalian nuns, there were no complaints by local residents," says [Frank] Skala. "That good neighbor policy changed when the facility was taken over by big business types who have run it since the 1980s. What the present administration has accomplished is to enrage local residents with contempt for laws, regulations and local concerns."
Why consult the community when you have lobbyists?
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