Under New Mandate, New York State, Alongside Klein and Dinowitz, Will Launch “Bronx Community Forum” so that Size, Scale, and Location Must be Weighed in Health Facility Approval Process for All Current and Future Health Developments in the Bronx.
At the Riverdale Y last night State Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz explained the provision in the state budget limiting health facilities proposed for the Bronx. This legislation is intended to stop one particular project, that being the proposed 11 story medical facility being built in Riverdale by Simone Developers for Montefiore Hospital. After vocal community opposition by those living around the proposed site, what has been said a lack of community concerns by Montefiore, and complete opposition from Senator Klein's possible primary challenger former Riverdale Councilman Oliver Koppell on the issue this provision was put into legislation as part of the state budget adoption.
This provision, contained in this year’s New York State budget, will apply to Montefiore’s controversial proposed development on Oxford Avenue in Riverdale. Specifically, the provision will empower local communities to weigh-in, via public forums, and to make formal recommendations to the Department of Health regarding the suitability of the facility’s proposed location as well as the facility’s potential impact on the surrounding community.
Klein and Dinowitz believe as a result of the new community review process, Montefiore will be unable to construct any new facility at the proposed Riverdale site for at least 24 months.
Senator Klein said: “This project will never get built under my watch. I have been fighting this project from day one because everything about it, from its size to its location, is wrong for Riverdale. For months, Montefiore has been ignoring the concerns of our community. Today, all of that changes. Today, Montefiore must start changing its project based on the concerns of our community, or else this project—and every future project—will never see the light of day. This is a major victory for the Bronx and with this new mandate, health providers like Montefiore will never again be allowed to run amok in our borough.”
Assemblyman Dinowitz: “Montefiore put forth a proposal for a huge facility in our community without the slightest consultation with community residents or its elected representatives. Month after month, local residents turned out in record numbers to express their strong opposition. Unfortunately Montefiore has not listened. This new approval process is now part of the new state budget. Senator Klein proposed this language and led the way for the Senate to include it in its budget resolution. I was successful in securing the support of the Assembly, ensuring that it was part of the final budget. When our community is impacted by a proposal for a large facility such as this, it is crucial that there be community input. We will not be left out of the discussion. We will have our say before any final decision is made.”
Under this new approval process, any free-standing health facility would be subject to a mandated community forum that the health commissioner, local community board and proposed health clinic, facility or center, would hold at a mutually agreed upon time and date. The New York State health commissioner would oversee the proceedings at the community forum, in addition to making any and all evidence for why such a facility should be built at a given size, scale and location available to the public via the department’s website. The commissioner would also be responsible for reviewing all relevant input from the local community before making a decision to approve, modify or deny the facility plans.
Editor's Note: This provision is for only Bronx County, and facilities higher than three stories and/or an area of 30,000 square feet or larger.
Montefiore currently has plans for another 11 story medical facility for the Coop-City area that will affected by this legislation.