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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Monte accused of breaking promise

By Shant Shahrigian
Posted
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Montefiore Medical Center has not officially abandoned plans to build on this tight lot in central Riverdale.

Nearly one month after promising to withdraw plans for a controversial new facility on Riverdale Avenue, Montefiore Medical Center has not done so.

The Department of Buildings’ (DOB) website lists the application as disapproved, although details are not clear. A DOB spokesperson said the website would list the application as withdrawn if that action had been taken.

Montefiore Medical Center and the Simone Healthcare Development Group, which is designing the new facility, declined to comment on the situation.

Elected officials who trumpeted Montefiore’s promise to withdraw its plans at a January meeting of Community Board (CB) 8’s Land Use Committee meeting said DOB’s rejection of the plans for an 11-story facility on Riverdale Avenue was more important than whether or not Montefiore had withdrawn its design.

“It still has the same effect,” state Sen. Jeff Klein said. “If the same effect is [that] they’re not moving forward with the plan that was proposed at the Community Board’s Land Use Committee, we’re at square one again.”

Still, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said the fact Montefiore did not carry out its promise “does not instill confidence in the community.”

Since Montefiore unveiled its plans for a 95,000-square-foot, multi-use facility in the fall, hundreds of community members have attended CB 8 meetings to voice their opposition to the facility, saying it is not needed here and calling Montefiore’s approach to the process imperious.

CB 8 Land Use Committee Chairman Charles Moerdler blasted Montefiore for not fulfilling its promise.

“It is something I for one find extremely disappointing,” Mr. Moerdler said. “Because if in this minor detail, they cannot keep their word, what assurance do we have that in major details they will keep their word?”

CB 8 Chairman Robert Fanuzzi said Montefiore’s position puts politicians who touted the hospital’s promise in an awkward situation.

“I can’t speak to Montefiore’s motives, but if they haven’t done it, they’ve put our elected officials in a very poor position,” Mr. Fanuzzi said.

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