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Cancer Center Would Help Patients, Hurt Property Values

Bridgeport Hospital wants to add a 120,620-square foot, 45-foot tall cancer treatment center to 5520 Park Ave. The Planning and Zoning Commission meets Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. to review the proposal.

Treating cancer is a noble cause, but neighbors have problem with a 45-foot tall facility in residential area.

RDR 5520 LLC wants to build the center at 5520 Park Ave., where Bridgeport Hospital has other outpatient facilities. The site borders on Easton, Bridgeport and Fairfield and the Merritt Parkway. A 10,000-square foot assisted living facility has been removed from the proposal after discussions with neighbors.

The Planning and Zoning Commission held the public hearing and closed it Nov. 14. It will review the proposal Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.

Attorney Ray Rizio, who said he is a cancer survivor, called the proposal the "most exciting" application he has pitched.

"This application will bring approximately 150 high-skilled new jobs to Trumbull," he said. The application also complies with all zoning regulations, including having enough space on the site, which is 5.2 acres. A parking garage would be built on the Bridgeport side. It's also convenient, with two hospitals being located in Bridgeport.

A landscape architect said the site would be screened from neighbors with evergreens, have a walkway over the driveway for patients and a "healing garden" on the first floor.

Rizio said the current roadway would be reworked into a rotary to make access easier. That proposal is being reviewed by the state.

Norman Roth, senior vice president for the Yale-New Haven Health Care System, said the facility would have four operating rooms and two GI suites. He called it "very comprehensive."

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It would the largest medical center of its kind in the area, officials said.

Jamie Bratt, director of Planning and Development, said the commission should discuss the center's impact on adjacent properties.

But she added that she toured a similar facility in Guilford. "I think we have a good handle on what this might look and feel like in the future," she said.

The healing garden is a "significant feature," she added. There also will be a "significant intensification of traffic and visitors" but there should be adequate buffering and landscaping and environmentally-friendly roof.

Reaction

Commission Vice Chairwoman Arlyne Fox was concerned that the site was growing too much. "Years ago, this started out as a small building," she said.

Rizio replied that any negative impacts have been corrected. He also submitted a letter from Stephen Hodson, an appraiser from Trumbull, who confirmed that neighboring local property values would not suffer. Three properties are adjacent in Trumbull and one in Bridgeport.

A line of cancer survivors and/or Trumbull resident spoke in favor of the proposal.

Trumbull Rotary Past President Steve Jakab said the center would be "world class" facility on par with the Dana Farber Institute and Sloan-Kettering.

Brian Jones of Trumbull said he would like to have a local facility rather than one farther away because it is easier on the patient. He survived prostate cancer and his wife was successfully treated for cancer.

But Victor Bardinelli of Plattsville Road disagreed that property values would be unaffected.

"How do you landscape a 45-foot [tall] building adquately?" he asked.

Ed Card of Plattsville Road, Trumbull, said there are more sites in Bridgeport that are more suited for a medical center.

He asked when construction would start and noted that if it is built, neighbors will also have to live through noise for several years. He was also concerned about security at night.

"We're depending on you to protect us, the residents," he said.

Emanuele Basile and his wife, Maria, of Plattsville Road, Bridgeport, said when the leaves fall, the current buildings are visible. He said he would not like the view of a 45-foot building. It should be built in Bridgeport, he said.

A.Hale November 20, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Hurting property values??? That's absurd. Next to the other side of the parkway there is a commercial/medical building already. Why do some people have this extreme reaction? It starts with a person and rumors snowball. FYI - building the facility will not hurt property values.
Maria Strazza Basile November 21, 2012 at 06:05 PM
I disagree with you. Some of the residents will have the 45 ft. garage 15ft from their property. Would you buy a house in the shadow of a garage?

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