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Sibley plan gets nod from zoning board (Northwest Current)

December 14, 2009

Current Staff Writer
The D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment yesterday approved requests by Sibley Memorial Hospital for zoning relief that will allow it to expand its Palisades campus. Board members made the somewhat unusual move of deciding the matter — a request for greater density and taller roof structures than allowed — despite a request from the District Department of Transportation to delay deliberation until completion of a traffic report in January.
Given that the city Zoning Commission reviewed many of Sibley’s traffic proposals with the Transportation Department while deciding whether to approve another project at the hospital, board
members said they "felt comfortable" moving forward without the traffic report.
The hospital’s 425,000-squarefoot expansion is driven mainly by patient demand for private rooms, said Jerry Price, Sibley’s vice president for real estate and construction.
Not only have private rooms become the national standard, said Price, but separate spaces aid infection control and drive down medical errors.
The new patient pavilion would allow Sibley to reach its planned maximum by 2020, with 268 beds in the new space and 40 in the old hospital — still below Sibley’s licensed capacity of 328, noted Price.
Plans would also construct, between 2012 and 2015, a new emergency department and cancer center, as well as the pavilion. The new structures will be placed behind the existing hospital, an arrangement that planners claimed — and board members agreed — will largely screen the added bulk from Loughboro Road and neighbors.
Price touted widespread community outreach and support for the project, including a 7-1 vote of support by the local advisory neighborhood commission.

Read the full article in the December 9, 2009 issue of the Northwest Current (PDF).

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