There were over 150 people in the audience for last Thursday's Community Board 8's Land Use Meeting. Almost all were there for the third item on the agenda that being a presentation by Simone Management of demolition, construction, and development plans of property 3741 & 3735 Riverdale Avenue, and 3644 Oxford Avenue for a proposed 11 story medical facility with parking. Since Mr. Jeff Meordler the son of the Land Use Chair Mr. Charles Meordler was giving the presentation, the chair yielded the floor to the Vice Chair of the Land Use committee Mr. M. Wolpoff.
Mr. J. Moerdler went through the proposal for the buildings acquired by Montefiore Hospital at 3741 & 3735 Riverdale Avenue, and 3644 Oxford Avenue for a proposed 11 story medical facility with parking.He said that no approval is needed since this building would be built as of right. That means since the site is next to a current 11 story coop building on Oxford Avenue the new 11 story building would not be out of character for the area. There would be 50 doctors and ancillary services, 20 – 30 specialist would be on site with a 120 car garage.
The building would be set back 100 feet on Oxford Avenue used as the entrance to the parking area, and the Riverdale Avenue entrance would be for patients. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said that Montefiore Hospital still has his gall bladder, and he thinks the building is good for the community, but is concerned about the height of the building. Councilman Oliver Koppell on the other hand is against the project. Koppell says the project is completely out of scale, and he is against the proposal. He said it is not needed, the population of Riverdale is only 40,000 people.
After a few speakers including Mr. S. Ganter President of the Fieldston Garden Apartments Coop, and Mr. Jim Grossman also of the FGA Coop who voiced their opposition to the planned building Mr. M. Blaustein of State Senator Jeff Klein's office said that Senator Klein would be working with Montifiore Hospital and the community on the proposed plan. After a few more speakers Land Use Chairman C. Moerdler tried to regain control by saying "Montifiore has agreed to back to the drawing board and come back next month with a better plan".
When asked if that meant will the demolition be halted until then, the answer by Montefiore was no construction would start, but that demolition work is ongoing and would continue. At that point Councilman Oliver Koppell got the loudest sound of clapping that I have ever heard him receive when he said he is an ex offico of the board and that anyone who wants to speak should. The angry criticism of Montefiore continued until the last person who wanted to speak was heard.
It is hard to believe that someone like Councilman Koppell who was in favor of the proposed housing project in North Riverdale that included 26 units of unknown possibly criminal emotionally disturbed adults placed in with senior housing that was stopped by Senator Jeff Klein would take such a position, unless he could be thinking of running for Senator Klein's seat. That has been suggested here recently.