July 21, 2024
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Teaneck’s Holy Name Medical Center Expansion Passes First Hurdle

On December 16, the Teaneck Planning Board approved an amendment to the land-use part of Teaneck’s master plan that will allow Holy Name Medical Center to expand, sending it to the town council for a vote. But that’s just the beginning of what is expected to be a 10- to 20-year project. The next step, coming up in 2022, is to nail down the zoning ordinances that can be permitted in the area, and to align the interests of the town, the hospital and the neighborhood in which the hospital is situated.

Michael Maron, CEO of Holy Name Medical Center, said approval of the master plan amendment will allow the hospital to stay in Teaneck, where they wish to be. “It’s our community; we take a serious responsibility for it,” he told The Jewish Link. “This gives us the ability over the next 20 years to grow in a methodical, community-oriented, neighborly fashion to meet the town’s needs and the communities beyond, too.”

The expansion reportedly calls for two new nine-story towers, more parking facilities, replacing the nursing school with a new building, adding new conference rooms as Holy Name moves towards becoming a teaching hospital, and reconfiguring hospital rooms to be private, with built-in disinfection equipment. “Sixty percent of rooms now are semi-private and that’s not good for noise, privacy and infection control,” said Maron. “New building codes require, and we encourage, the shift into private rooms. Rooms will be built to minimize the spread of infection. With the flip of a switch, we can turn to negative pressure if we need, with all air in the rooms sucked out, the virus pushed through HEPA filters.” Maron said as the old model of physician-entrepreneurs changes to one where physicians are employed by the hospital, the expansion will efficiently bring physicians onto the campus in modern medical-office space.

The hospital said many elements of the plan have been designed to protect the neighborhood. “A big part of what we’re doing is separating the residential area from the hospital,” said Maron. “We’re closing the Grange Road entrance and putting a cul de sac on Chadwick Street to split it in half. No ambulances can come in. The ambulance entrance will be along Teaneck Road.” The hospital has bought several properties to facilitate the expansion. Most of the private houses will remain private and will house nuns, residents and visiting physicians. “There will be a 150-foot buffer from Grange back to the hospital, with the green area an additional 100 feet back. We can only put surface parking and it will be well concealed.” The nine-story buildings will be placed 800 feet away on a hill that slopes down toward Cedar Lane and Teaneck Road and be “minimally visible.”

The town and hospital have been meeting with a group of neighbors to address their concerns. Sticking points remain. The neighbors would like an agreement in writing but there is still disagreement on its contents; the neighbors told The Jewish Link they have not received responses to their most recent proposal.

“I’m happy that the planning board realized not just the importance of the hospital to the town, but is also ensuring that the master plan amendment works to protect the neighbors within the town,” said Deputy Mayor Mark Schwartz, who is also the co-publisher of The Jewish Link.

Schwartz is optimistic that the issues will be resolved. “The expression of a bad settlement is where everyone leaves the room unhappy. But in this unique situation, I truly believe everyone can and should be leaving smiling.”

By Bracha Schwartz

 

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