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Bronxville Planning Board Set to OK Environmental Plan for New Cancer Center

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – Lawrence Hospital got a step closer to jumping a major hurdle in its bid to build a new three-story cancer center when the Bronxville Planning Board agreed Wednesday night to vote at its next meeting that the project meets the environmental impact criteria dictated by the state and village.

Groans of disappointment arose from the neighborhood opponents to the project who have packed the planning board and zoning board of appeals meetings for months and who Wednesday night continued to demand for additional studies on noise, storm water management, increased traffic and parking needs and pedestrian safety that the new facility may create.

But in recommending that the planning board move ahead by drafting a resolution of a negative declaration on the project’s environmental impact, board members suggested that the hospital had sufficiently addressed the many issues raised by members of both boards and village residents. That approval would clear the way for the zoning board to address the variances requested by hospital officials for the planned addition.

“I feel we have reached the end of the line. We really should rely on the consultant’s reports and issue a negative declaration,” said Anna Longobardo, vice chairperson of the planning board, after listening to a detailed summary of why the hospital should get its clearance from the hospital’s attorney and opposing comments from several residents who had also expressed them in earlier meetings.

“I think this is a very divisive issue in the village,” said board member Gary Reetz. “But this is a process we have been struggling with for a long time and should now move it on to the next step.”

In requesting a drafting of the resolution for vote on July 11, board Chairperson Eric Blessing echoed the opinions of other board members that approval of the environmental studies would not be an endorsement by his committee of the project or a recommendation to the zoning board to approve variances before them.

“We are pleased that the process is moving forward to the zoning board now in that we feel that all of the issues from an environmental perspective have been addressed by the hospital consultants and reviewed by the village’s own consultants and the deliberations can now move to the next step,” said Timothy Hughes, vice president of business development at Lawrence Hospital.

Helen Levitz, a resident of Alger Court and strident opponent of the project, said that she did not think the state’s threshold for environmental impact is very high and that her group of almost 200 petition signers opposing the new cancer center will continue to challenge its construction.

“We still have the zoning board and have to see what they’re going to do. We’re here for the long haul,” Alger said. “We live across from them.  We’re not leaving.”

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