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Summit Medical Group Proposes Facility on Chatham Road

The four-floor, 62,908-square-foot building would have two floors of medical offices and two floors of parking.

Summit Medical Group is hoping to construct a new facility at the corner of Chatham Road and Woodland Road in Short Hills.

The new 62,908 square-foot building would have two floors of medical offices and two floors of interior parking, according to the plans and application filed at Town Hall. It would replace the current three buildings at the site, including a gas station, a professional office building and a medical office building. The gas station is not in use.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment is scheduled to review the requested variances for the project by the Berkeley Heights-based company during a meeting on Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall. The organization is requesting variances for floor area ratio, height, setbacks, parking and "slope disturbance."

The new building itself would have a 14,900-square-foot footprint on the property and would be 8.5 feet from Chatham Road and 11.3 feet from Woodland Road. It also would be 46.1 feet high.

The two lower levels of the building would have 68 parking spaces. Additionally there would be 72 outdoor surface parking spaces to bring the total to 140 spaces on the site.

The application states the facility would fit with current uses in the neighborhood including a nearby dentist office and the Short Hills Pharmacy. Additionally the need for the floor area ratio variance is because of the need to include interior parking and also part of why the height variance is needed. Additionally, the height variance is needed because of the roof type.

The Summit Medical Group website states it has existed for 80 years and has more than 200 service providers.

msh July 30, 2010 at 05:56 PM
I hope they do something with this lot soon, it is an eye sore!
Joanne Smythe July 30, 2010 at 11:19 PM
The lot is an eyesore today, but building a 4 story, 46 foot tall building 8 feet away from Chatham Road is a disaster. Why replace one eyesore with another? Any buildings constructed on this lot should be two stories tall maximum, in the Tudor style EXACTLY as the other Chatham Road stores (Short Hills Pizza, pharmacy, etc). This would create a more cohesive, charming look to the neighborhood, instead of a 46 foot tall eyesore walling in the community.
jean p July 31, 2010 at 01:27 PM
We have been faithfully using SMG's Short Hills facility for 13 years. It's very convenient to have your pediatrician 2 minutes away when your child is really sick. But I too agree that the building should be in keeping with the neighborhood look and feel. Here is yet another example of why our community needs to be actively involved in monitoring the decision of and voicing our opinions to the Zoning Board of Adjustments. They have inordinate power for unelected officials over the Master Plan of Short Hills/ Millburn and the aesthetics of our community. Jen- the community should know more about who the members of the ZBA are, how they might contact them, how they are appointed, how long are their terms, what are their individual voting records. Possible?
Yenta August 04, 2010 at 12:18 AM
Sounds more like a hospital/out patient facility than a doctor's office to me. Almost 63,000 square feet; 140 parking spaces; how many ambulances, ambulettes, etc. Two floors of rooms, including after hours, on call, out patient surgical procedures? Where is the information? Do we have any idea what the impact will be? How many employees are going to work in this building? 100 or more? Where are they going to park? What are the operating hours going to be? The only difference between this place and a hospital is that patients (may not) won't be staying overnight. A hospital is being located on the corner of Chatham Road and Woodland Rd., practically by stealth when the uproar over the Chai Center has been sucking in all of the air. Wake up people. This will have a greater impact on Glenwood than Stop and Shop but no one is even going to notice until it is too late. The next step will be the purchase of Short Hills Terrace apts. to be set up as a step-down unit, assisted living, nursing home. Don't venture toward the Stop Sign on Woodland and Chatham. It may be hazardous to your health.
Damian August 04, 2010 at 04:55 AM
This has been an existing business location since when I biked to Glenwood School, which was in the sixties. To compare this to plopping a nonconforming, oversized zoning monstrosity into an existing residential area is absurd. Whether the Summit Medical Group fits into the Woodland Road/Chatham Road location should be a totally separate and distinct decision from the Chai Center variance application.
MarkDS August 04, 2010 at 09:52 AM
Lets not get oerblown here. SMG operates a large medical group but it is certainly not a hospital. This would be much much smaller than their Berkeley Heights location, which I am at regularly, and that is very much a large doctors complex not a hospital.
MarkDS August 04, 2010 at 09:52 AM
Yes, and a gas station is such an attractive use of space.
Summit Medical Group August 04, 2010 at 01:51 PM
I'm the space planner for Summit Medical Group, and am intimately involved with plans for the new Short Hills satellite office. As design plans are presented to the Zoning Board of Adjustment, you'll find we were very careful to design a building which matches the character and scale of the village of Short Hills. We look forward to sharing more information about this project as plans progress. - Elizabeth Wiech, Summit Medical Group
Jennifer Connic August 04, 2010 at 09:54 PM
Hi Elizabeth, If you have the schematic designs for the project in a pdf or jpg format, we can get them posted. You can either email them to me at jen@patch.com or you can add them to this article. Thanks, Jen
The Bus stops Here August 05, 2010 at 01:56 AM
This proposal goes against the towns master plan. This breaks many zoning rules and would require more variances than the chai center. Current zoning law requires medical offices to have 1 parking spot per 150 sq feet... how does this add up?
concerned citizen August 17, 2010 at 11:34 PM
Elizabeth- Looking at the plans- Isn't the building 4 stories in the back - 2 levels of parking and another 2 stories on top of that? How tall is it from the pavement at the entrance to the lower level parking lot to the top of the building? How high is it viewed from the back of the lot (nearest Oakview Terrace) to the top of the building? Why is there virtually no landscaping at the bottom of the lot (closet to the homes) to try to hide this 4 story building? Has any thought been given to this - or the way it will look in the wintertime? Are you aware of any 4 story buildings nearby? Will the excavation involved involve the old gas station, and if so what safety precautions are being taken. Wasn't there an underground leak there in the past. What is inside the numerous oil drums that have been sitting on the old gas station site and why have they been left there? Are the drums staying as part of your plan to blend into the community ? It looks like the lower level parking garage will be a 23 foot wide by at least 10 foot high entrance facing the homes on Oakview and a parking deck above it. Is there anyway to have this face west so the peopleliving downhill don't have to see this? Are walk in patients accepted? Do you know how many doctors will practice there? How many total staff members will there be at this new facility?
Rick Lechtman August 26, 2010 at 11:34 PM
I having reviewed the architectural plans at filed with Bldg Dept at Town Hall: Lower Level: Pediatrics & Ob/GYN Dr. Offices: Nine (9) between the 2 practices Waiting Areas : Two (2) waiting areas w/ 19 chairs plus One (1) Infant Sick Area and One (1) Regular Sick Area Pediatrician: Twelve (12) Exam Rooms, Reception Area, Nurse Station w/ two (2) desks, four (4) Administrative desks, one (1) consultation room & one (1) break room OB/GYN: Waiting Room, Eleven (11) Exam Rooms, two (2) Reception/checkin desks, Nurse Station w/ two (2) desks, four (4) Administrative desks, one (1) on-call room & one (1) Lab/Tech room & one (1) X-RAY room. Upper Level: Cardiology & Swing Practices Dr. Offices: Eleven (11) between the 2 practices PLUS four (4) Unidentified rooms could be exam rooms. Waiting Areas : Two (2) waiting areas w/ 20 chairs Cardiology: Sixteen+/- (16) Exam Rooms, Reception Area, Nurse Station w/ two (2) desks, six (6) Administrative desks, one (1) consultation room, one (1) conference room & one (1) Stress-Test room SWING: Waiting Room, Nine (9) Exam Rooms, one (1) Reception/check in desks, Nurse Station w/ two (2) desks, four (4) Administrative desks, one (1) consult room & one (1) breakroom room & one (1) Procedure room.

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