Cooperstown ‘Hospital Zone’ Task Force
May Ease Regulations On New Buildings
Zoning revisions that creates a “hospital zone” in the vicinity of Bassett Healthcare but will also allow buildings up to 4,000-square-feet anywhere in the village to avoid site-development review will be presented to the public at an informational meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, June 16, at the fire hall on Chestnut Street.
The zoning change would apply village-wide, said Trustee Cindy Falk, who is chairing a Village Board task force that has been working since last fall on creating a hospital zone. “We felt for smaller sorts of things, if there are no variances (required), then it wasn’t necessary,” said Falk.
Projects would still have to go through the Preservation & Historic Architectural Review Board and, if wetlands and other specific cases are involved, some review would still be required, Falk said.
The hospital zone would be the rectangle formed by Fair, Elk and River streets and Atwell Road, and would also include the southside of Beaver Street where Harrison Hall and Bassett Hall are located, plus Riverside Drive, a cul de sac that extends east of Susquehanna Avenue where there are a half-dozen homes owned by the healthcare network.
Among other changes, Falk said, would be a formula that bases the number of required parking spaces on square footage, rather than the current formula based on employees and beds. Falk said that wouldn’t apply to the current campus, but would kick in if the hospital expands.
Village Attorney Martin Tillapaugh is reviewing the law, but the village Planning Board must still review the recommendations and has 60 days to submit a report, “so don’t expect anything to happen tomorrow,” Falk said. However, with public-hearing requirements, the Village Board may be able to act on any recommendations by the end of the summer.