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Sleepy Hollow Planning Board Delays Open Door Vote

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – A final site approval vote for the Open Door Medical Facility's proposed North Broadway location has been delayed as the village Planning Board referred the matter to the Sleepy Hollow Zoning Board of Appeals Thursday night.

The referral means that Open Door must first get approval for several zoning variances, including parking requirements, before the planning board will vote on the plan. The zoning board's next meeting will be in September.

“The [planning] board has fleshed out the variances,” Village Attorney Janet Gandolfo said. “I think it's time to refer it to the zoning board to make a determination on the application.”

Sleepy Hollow officials and residents met Thursday night for a public hearing on the proposed project, which would have the clinic move from its current location at 80 Beekman Ave. to a larger facility at 300 North Broadway.

Open Door officials have been working on a number of concerns about the project, including issues of traffic, parking and pedestrian safety. They also have modified their original plan to try to keep patients and drivers out of the nearby Webber Park neighborhood.

Village Architect Sean McCarthy said he had concerns with the available on-site parking because it was cramped. McCarthy said larger trucks would have difficulty turning around on the site, which means they'd have to back out onto Route 9.

Open Door officials stressed that the lack of parking was not going to be a problem because 70 percent of their patients walk to the clinic. Open Door has also partnered with Phelps Memorial Hospital Center to provide a shuttle for clinic employees so they do not park on the site.

“This is typical of our sites,” Attorney Kyle McGovern said. “We're in very dense areas. Our patients walk.”

Open Door staff and patients came to Thursday's meeting in support of the proposed move, saying it will provide more health care to the community. Proponents of the plan also submitted more than 200 additional names for their petition.

Sara Paul, a doctor in the residency program, said the move would be beneficial to the Webber Park neighborhood because of its proximity.

Residents in the Webber Park neighborhood, which sits adjacent to the proposed facility, presented a petition opposing the plan that included signatures from neighbors and businesses along Route 9.

Many residents spoke Thursday about potential pedestrian accidents. Under the proposed plan, patients would cross Route 9 just north of a five-point intersection with the help of a crossing guard. Open Door would pay for the crossing guard.

“That location is extremely dangerous for pedestrians,” Sleepy Hollow resident Patrick Munroe said. Munroe lives on New Broadway and says he's experienced several near-misses while trying to cross the street.

Other residents said they thought the location was not right for Open Door.

“It just doesn't belong in a residential neighborhood,” Sleepy Hollow resident Donna Gates said.

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