Health clinic plans unveiled to Andes residents


By Pauline Liu
Residents in Andes will have the chance to voice their opinions about the newly proposed primary care health clinic at a public hearing at town hall on Monday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m.

O’Connor Hospital is purchasing the land on South Main Street and building the clinic, with plans to turn the building over to its health network, Bassett Healthcare, by September. Bassett will provide the facility with a physician who is very familiar to the area. Dr. Susan Fiore, formerly of Margaretville Hospital, will be in charge of the clinic. She is expected to work with a nurse practitioner, who has yet to be named.

Project details
O’Connor’s project team unveiled new drawings of the 2,800-square-foot facility at Andes’ Town Planning Board Meeting on Monday night, The white, Greek Revival building, complete with pillars on the front porch, will be a bit large than the neighboring homes. O’Connor also hired Certified Floodplain Manager Alton Knapp to present the results of his environmental impact study.

Knapp explained that contrary to local belief, the 1.7-acre property, which is being purchased from Andes resident Shayne Moshier, is not located in the floodplain. However, Knapp pointed out that during the 1996 flood, the site that is located diagonally across from the Andes Post Office, was covered in at least two feet of water. “The footprint of the building is not in the floodplain, but historically, we know that it is,” said Knapp.

To make the clinic as flood resistant as possible, O’Connor is proposing to elevate or raise the building, so that the finished floor will be about three feet above South Main Street. “We’re designing the foundation, so the water will flow right through it,” said Michael Howard, O’Connor’s Facilities and Projects Manager. The design involves building 14 flood vents into the building. “The answer to that (flooding) is to elevate the building on a crawl space with flood vents that would allow the water to flow through,” said Knapp.

The experts were also asked to present any negative impacts the clinic might have on its neighbors. In particular, they studied whether the existence of the facility might increase the risk of flooding to its neighbors. “Basically, there are no negative impacts over the site itself,” said Knapp.

Light concerns
Project Architect Lee Marigliano of Delta Engineers in Delhi, discussed the security lights required for the clinic and efforts to minimize the glare from the lights, which could annoy neighbors. “As a medical facility, we have to have security lights and the lights on the building will be on all night,” said Marigliano. He explained that there will be two or three lampposts for added security, but they will be turned off at night.

Neighbors of the proposed clinic expressed their concerns about the project and were given an opportunity to look over the site plan. Marello Reale and his mother Kathe live on the north side of the site and their greatest worry is the traffic that the clinic will bring, since O’Connor expects that at full capacity 40-45 patients can be seen in a day. 

Daily traffic
“We’re told that it’s going to bring 40 cars a day and that’s 800 cars a month, which to some degree will change the whole traffic flow,” said Kathe. Her son agreed. “Where there’s traffic, there’ll be brakes, dust and noise,” he said. The Reales have asked O’Connor to plant a row of trees between their properties to shield them from the glare from the security lights. “We want to be a good neighbor, if you want trees, we’ll plant trees,” said Edward McGrath, who is O’Connor’s chief operating officer.

It’s not clear if O’Connor can do anything to address the concerns of another neighbor, Joann Boerner, who lives directly across the street, She also happens to be the clerk for the Andes Town Planning Board.

“I live directly across from the lot,” she said. “The lights will be shining in and out. There will be all sorts of people and I will have no privacy,” she added.
Before the project is approved by the Andes Town Planning Board, neighbors will have their say at the public hearing.

Planning Board Chairman Frank Winkler said the plans will be sent to the Delaware County Department of Public Works for review. O’Connor Hospital has agreed to leave a copy of the site plan and the flood plan with Andes Town Clerk Kimberly Tosi, so that residents can have a chance to study the plans one week before the public hearing is held.