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Zoning approval sought for Long Beach medical building

A rendering of a medical arts center proposed

A rendering of a medical arts center proposed in Long Beach. Credit: South Nassau Communities Hospital

South Nassau Communities Hospital will seek approval from the Long Beach zoning board as its next step in building a $40 million medical arts building.

The city’s Zoning Board of Appeals will determine whether the property of the former Long Beach Medical Center should be rezoned from residential for medical use.

The city denied the hospital’s building permit June 13, stating that the property “formerly housed medical offices for outpatient services.” South Nassau officials will seek a variance to permit medical services, otherwise not permitted by the residential code, city officials said.

City officials said the building dimensions meet city code, but South Nassau would need a variance for a building permit to be granted. The zoning board is set to review the appeal during a special meeting July 9 at Long Beach City Hall.

“The zoning application is part of our required legal process to move the Medical Arts Pavilion project forward so we can begin construction,” South Nassau officials said in a statement. “The area in question has been used for hospital and medical offices for decades, so this is really a ministerial application to bring the zoning up, as allowed by the City of Long Beach, to match the historical use of the property.”

South Nassau plans to build the outpatient medical facility on the site of the former hospital and locate it next to a free-standing $38 million emergency room that opened in August 2015 to treat 911 calls and accept ambulances.

The proposed 15,000-square-foot elevated one-story medical arts building will include 18 examination rooms and two new procedure rooms. The offices will include radiology, primary care, pediatrics, OB-GYN, oncology, internal medicine, podiatry and rotating specialists for cardiology and urology.

The medical arts building is being built with an alternative-use plan approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which awarded South Nassau $154 million in disaster relief funds after the hospital in Long Beach was destroyed by superstorm Sandy.

South Nassau officials purchased the bankrupt hospital in 2014 and said opening a full-service facility in Long Beach was not financially viable. FEMA allowed South Nassau to spend $40 million in Long Beach and divert the remaining $113 million to fortify the main hospital.

South Nassau officials said the free-standing emergency room, which will not become part of the new building has already treated and released 38,000 patients on site.

“We are committed to improving the availability of medical services on the barrier island and this is one more step toward reaching that goal,” South Nassau officials said.

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