Monte shrinks health center plans


A Montefiore Medical Center executive says the hospital is planning to build a much shorter facility in south Riverdale than originally planned, after months of community backlash at the project.

Kate Rose, Montefiore’s assistant vice president for public policy and government relations, announced the change to Community Board 8’s Land Use Committee on Monday night.

“While we have no updates on the project per se, we are having discussions about the potential capabilities of a significantly reduced, approximately three-story health facility with on-site parking,” she said.

“As per earlier updates, we also continue to discuss making the new entrance on Riverdale Avenue,” Ms. Rose added.

Montefiore’s original plans for an 11-story, 95,000-square-foot ambulatory center at Riverdale Avenue near West 238th Street outraged residents, who said the site would create traffic problems and warp the character of the community, among other objections.

The proposal prompted Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and state Sen. Co-Majority Leader Jeff Klein to pass a law creating a new state Department of Health (DOH) review process for ambulatory facilities in the Bronx. The process comes into play for facilities over three stories tall or containing 30,000 square feet.

The height proposed by Ms. Rose suggested Montefiore might be trying to avoid such a review. Mr. Klein blasted Ms. Rose’s announcement in an e-mail statement on Tuesday.

“It is apparent that based on the few details Montefiore has given regarding their new plan, they are trying to circumvent the law,” the senator said. “At this time, however, Montefiore is still subject to the stipulations of my law, which means that they will have to notify DOH and [the Department of Education] of their plans and undergo a mandated community-approval process.”

Mr. Klein added that “if Montefiore continues to play games with the community by deliberately moving forward with a plan that circumvents this law,” he is prepared to take legal action to block the project.

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