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Residents: Hospital Addition Application Lacking

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- The Wall Street attorney representing citizens living across the street from a proposed addition to Lawrence Hospital has sent a letter to village officials claiming the hospital’s application is incomplete.

"There is, simply put, no complete application for the village to act on at this time," said Christopher Rizzo, of Carter, Ledyard and Milburn Law Firm, in a letter that was hand-delivered to village officials dated Sept. 22.

Efforts to reach Donald Henderson, planning board chairman, Vincent Pici, village engineer, were unsuccessful on Wednesday. 

But Timothy Hughes, Vice President of Business Development at Lawrence Hospital said all appropriate documentation had been submitted.

"It is the responsibility of the applicant to submit an Environmental Assessment Form ("EAF"), which was done with the original application," Hughes said. "It is then the responsibility of the lead agency, in this case the Bronxville Planning Board to determine what next steps should be followed.  The hospital has complied with all requests to date."

Rizzo said that because of the size and location of the project, the applicant, Lawrence Hospital, is required under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) to file an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

According to Rizzo, the EIS will address such issues as noise, parking and whether or not the project conforms to the community plan and existing zoning laws, including solutions to  any issues.

Rizzo's letter underscores the points made by residents who have been attending planning board meetings for the last year and who have now organized, dubbing themselves the Committee to Save Bronxville's West Side, and hired an attorney.

One of those residents is Alger Court resident Helen Levitz, who said that the group had to organize after the planning board handled this project differently than others.

"We had to organize because the planning board never insisted that Lawrence Hospital go through the steps for SEQRA like other projects had to go through," Levitz said. "When that did not happen, we felt we had to take the next step from residents coming to complain to the board, to an organization with officers and meetings and legal representation."

Rizzo's letter went on to say that an EIS will also outline what other options the hospital has looked at and why they are not feasible. Rizzo cites plans that were submitted to the New York State Department of Health in 2001 and 2006 for other expansion and renovation projects. However, Rizzo said the hospital never explained why those projects were rejected in favor of the current proposal that was originally submitted to the village in November 2010.

Hospital President Edward M. Dinan has said the hospital has spent a great deal of time considering other possibilities and each had been ruled out because they simply did not provide what the hospital needs in a cost effective manner.

Rizzo concludes that his clients, are eager to meet with village and hospital officials to hammer out a solution everyone can live with.

"Our clients look forward to having the opportunity to find alternatives and mitigation measures that allow the hospital to grow and thrive without undue impacts and lasting burdens on its residential neighbors."

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