Residents opposed to Montefiore Medical Center’s plans for a large new facility on Riverdale Avenue are frustrated that Community Board (CB) 8’s Land Use Committee postponed a meeting to discuss the health care giant’s latest plans from Tuesday to an undetermined date in September. Activists questioned whether the move came so the next round of back-and-forth over Montefiore occurs after a major September primary vote.
Earlier this month, residents reported learning that Montefiore is shrinking its controversial project to a six-story, 77,000-square-foot building during a closed-door meeting with representatives from the hospital and the Simone Development Companies, which plan to build the site for Montefiore.
While CB 8 is on a summer hiatus, the Land Use Committee called a special meeting for Montefiore to present its latest plans. But on Sunday, a Montefiore executive asked committee Chairman Charles Moerdler to push the session back to September, saying they still need time to complete their plans.
“We are working around-the-clock to finalize and look forward to sharing the revised plans and a full picture of the services,” the hospital said in a statement.
However, some activists wondered whether the meeting was really postponed so state Sen. Co-Majority Leader Jeff Klein, who has taken a strong stance against Montefiore’s plans, can avoid further pressure from the community before the Tuesday, Sept. 9 primary vote. He is facing a serious challenge from former Councilman Oliver Koppell.
“We don’t think this adjournment is anything but a cynical attempt to put it past the primaries and help to dilute the continued strong opposition of the community,” said Stuart Gartner, a Riverdale lawyer and co-organizer of an informal group opposed to Montefiore’s plans.
Other residents who attended the recent, closed-door meeting with Montefiore and Simone representatives were more circumspect.