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Norwood Hospital withdraws zoning plan

A plan by Norwood Hospital to ask voters next month to rezone its property and enable it to move forward with expansion plans has been withdrawn, following criticism of the plan by selectmen.

Brooke Thurston, spokeswoman for Norwood Hospital’s parent company, Steward Health Care System, said hospital officials want to incorporate into their plans feedback they received from selectmen and so have decided to withdraw their Town Meeting request for now.

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Representatives of Norwood Hospital, at 800 Washington St., have gone before planning and zoning officials asking to add a top floor to an existing building and construct a new, free-standing medical office building with a garage. The proposals would include changes in traffic flow in the area. The Town Meeting request was for a hospital “overlay district,” which might help those plans overcome opposition from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Thurston said the hospital is looking to improve the delivery of patient care by modernizing its facilities. “The evolution of the industry best practices and patient expectations of a modern health facility have outpaced current zoning regulations,” Thurston said in a statement. “Our dialogue with the Town of Norwood will be ongoing so that we meet the growing health care needs of the community.”

Board of Selectmen chairman William Plasko said in an interview he was concerned additional traffic and the proposed changes in traffic flow would cause congestion near the emergency room. He said the hospital should look at buying property across the street, which would make the area less dense than the additional construction. “They should do right by the town as well as their own needs,” he said.

Thurston could not say when a new plan might be submitted.

Jean Lang can be reached at jeanmcmillanlang@comcast.
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