South Nassau Communities Hospital gets OK for urology office


South Nassau Communities Hospital could open a urology office on the edge of Rockville Centre within a year.

The hospital plans to convert the former law office at 510 Merrick Road, between Long Beach Road and Linhurst Place, into a center for men’s and women’s urological care. This change in use required a variance, because, according to village code, the building, which has 21 parking spaces, would need 31 if it were turned into a medical office.

The village Board of Zoning Appeals approved the application at its meeting on Aug. 17, with the condition that there must be signs stating that parking is only for the four doctors who would work there, and their patients.

Other staff members, between 12 and 15 people, could park at 519 Merrick Road, a building that South Nassau owns. “That facility is really a sort of ancillary annex to the hospital,” said Christian Browne, the attorney representing South Nassau. “It’s used for training purposes for staff. At any one time there are eight or 10 staff working in that building. The building has 71 parking spots. They do not use anywhere near 71 parking spots, and they do not plan to do so in the foreseeable future.”

Urology clinic employees could also park in Municipal Parking Lot No. 12 on Sunrise Highway, between Long Beach Road and North Forest Avenue, where the hospital rents 150 spaces. There is a shuttle for staff who park in that lot.

“This is intended to be a high-end facility,” said Browne. “If there were a situation to arise where our staff could no longer park across the street, it would really make the kind of service we’re trying to provide here impossible … The hospital would have to significantly alter its plans if it didn’t have the other facility, because the goal here is not to inconvenience people… who we’re trying to keep here instead of Manhattan. You can’t quite do that if they have to park on Long Beach Road and walk over.”

Residents who live close to the proposed office said that parking is already a problem on their street, and they worried that this would make it worse. “I understand what they’re saying, but … when I go to work, the last thing I want to do is park across the street,” said Rose Gianetta, who lives at the corner of Rutland Avenue and Linhurst Place. “Merrick Road is a very, very busy, hectic intersection, with lots of accidents, unfortunately.”

Jackie Siller, who lives on Linhurst Place, said that cars from Parts Authority across the street already block her driveway — she recently backed into one. She asked the BZA to enforce the two-hour parking rule on Linhurst Place.

BZA Chairman J. Robert Schenone said that while the board could make parking rules, it was up to the Police Department to enforce them.

“If it’s there, they’re probably not going to park on the street if it’s a two-hour block,” Jack Matthews, counsel to the BZA, said of the South Nassau staff. “That’s an enforcement issue.”

The plan is for the office to open sometime in the middle of next year, pending approvals from the village board and the Architectural Review Board, followed by six months of construction.