LETTER: Is an 80,000 Sq Ft Greenwich Hospital Expansion Too Much for Greenwich?

Letter to the editor from Berrin Snyder, Greenwich

We have been fighting for years to preserve the identity and spirit of the town we live in; that which makes it unique, and that which creates the sense of place we call home. This identity and town character is under attack again.

Please let the President of Greenwich Hospital, Mr. Norman Roth, know that we do not want more hospital expansion at Lake Avenue and Lafayette Place. Our town is a real “main-street, white picket fence” community with historic buildings and beautiful scenic roads, where people once could live in cute, and often affordable, houses in or near town; or choose back country estates, depending on your lifestyle and pocketbook. It was the quintessential charming New England town.

I don’t have to tell you that developers have all but transformed our community into a landscape of urban sprawl, with super-sized office and apartment buildings, car dealerships, and urban forest decimation.

Some of the last charming neighborhoods near town, which still enjoy the shade of our beautiful tree canopy and lovely architecture, the Fourth Ward Historic District and Glen Court, are adjacent the site of this hospital expansion. The “small-town” intimate atmosphere of that neighborhood risks being destroyed by such an imposing structure.

Yale New Haven/Greenwich Hospital is proposing an 80,000 square foot, three story addition to its existing cancer center with parking for approximately 300 cars above and below ground. The hospital would then occupy three corners of the intersection, adjacent to the Fourth Ward District, with super-sized commercial structures.

This expansion, added to the recently exposed Pickwick Plaza (after cutting those iconic cherry trees down), and Wells Fargo, will create a visually commercial zone of one oversized commercial structure after the other, filling up the space at the top of
Greenwich Avenue and beyond.

The multi-family units presently on the property are, at least, somewhat congruous to the surroundings. This proposal would require rezoning from Residential Multi- Family to a Hospital Zone-2, and a substantial increase of Floor Area Ratio. Sentiment from the hospital’s President seems to convey a desire to serve the community, however, apparently over half the patients are already from out of town.

With New York City hospitals 40 minutes away, shouldn’t we preserve the intimate and personal atmosphere and attention one gets at Greenwich Hospital? Do we really want to have a regional hospital in the midst of some of our most popular and precious close-to-town neighborhoods. I believe a helipad was proposed in the
past. Could that be coming next? Where will this all stop?

If this is of concern to you, please let Mr. Roth and our Planning & Zoning Department and Commission know your thoughts.

Berrin Snyder

See also:

P&Z Watch: Pre-Application Begins on Potential 80,000 sq ft Greenwich Hospital Smilow Cancer Center

Up to the Minute Greenwich Property Transfers, March 11, 2020