The Huntington Terrace Citizens’ Association’s appeal to block the expansion of Suburban Hospital in Bethesda was denied by a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge June 22.
The appeal, filed Jan. 4, was the association’s latest attempt to stop the hospital’s planned $230 million expansion, which was approved by the Montgomery County Board of Appeals in October. Under the plan, 10 hospital-owned houses would be replaced by a parking garage and 300,000-square-foot hospital addition and Lincoln Street between Old Georgetown Road and Grant Street would be closed. The association opposes both measures, preferring the hospital to build elsewhere on its land, said Amy Shiman, the association president.
The association will not make a decision about whether to pursue an appeal until after its next meeting July 7, she said.
“We’re extremely disappointed in this process,” Shiman said Monday. “We continue to remain optimistic that the hospital will want to sit down and meet with us we’re hopeful but not optimistic, I guess.”
Shiman said the association is disappointed the hospital has not shown greater interest in meeting with the neighborhood and that a report by then-hearing examiner and current planning board chair Francoise Carrier, who recommended reworking the expansion plan, was not given greater weight in the board of appeal’s decision.
“I’m very puzzled why they would suggest we’re not interested in meeting with them when the record shows we’ve met with them more than 23 times [since 2005] and are more than happy to continue to do so,” said Suburban spokeswoman Ronna Borenstein-Levy.
Meanwhile, hospital officials were pleased with the decision.
“We are encouraged and look forward to putting the shovels in the ground and building the facility our patients need,” said Leslie Ford Weber, the hospital’s senior vice president of government and community relations.
The hospital’s bid to block part of Lincoln Street will be decided by the Montgomery County Council, which is scheduled to vote on the matter July 19.
If the council approves that measure, the hospital will then begin work on the necessary revisions specified in county board of appeal’s approval. The board of appeals granted its approval on the condition that the hospital make concessions most notably, demolishing only 10 of the 23 homes they proposed to remove, Weber said. The hospital will need to obtain variances to meet that provision, she said.
Staff Writer Sarah Gantz contributed to this report.