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Architect Endorses Hospital Expansion Plan in Bronxville

BRONXVILLE, N.Y.  – An independent architecture firm endorsed an embattled plan to expand Lawrence Hospital during a meeting Monday night of the Bronxville Zoning Board of Appeals.

The nod from RBSD Architects, hired by the zoning board to review the expansion plans submitted by Lawrence Hospital, could set the course for approval of the multiple variances requested by hospital officials.

“We agree with their findings,” said architect William Selan of RBSD. “As far as the location, yes we endorse it. We were asked to see if anything is wrong with the plans, and our findings are that they are based in criteria.”

The hospital has proposed a three-story addition on the northeast portion of its existing building to house a cancer center, with areas for radiation therapy in the basement, oncology infusion on the first floor and six new operating rooms on the third floor. Village approval of variances is needed because the footprint of the addition would come within 2 feet of the sidewalk.

The new building would be located directly across from the condominiums at Alger Court. Upset area residents have been turning out at zoning meetings to protest the plan for more than a year.

Helen Levitz, who lives in Alger Court, was among the 25 residents in attendance Monday. “What if the hospital did not have a cancer center?” Levitz asked, citing state statistics that depict a lack of demand for oncology infusion at the hospital.

Area resident Anne Kelty asked about parking, the length of the proposed construction and demands on village services. “I think it is nervy of the hospital to expect so many variances in a 1-square-mile village,” she said. “This whole thing seems completely out of proportion.”

Selan answered many questions from board members about the need for two staircases; the size and height of the new operating rooms; relocation of heating, ventilation and air conditioning units to a basement level; and estimated costs of changes to the plan.

He repeatedly said that even with minimum standards for updating medical facilities, the plans were appropriate.

“Our charge was not to come up with an alternative design,” Selan said. “Tweaking the plans won’t make the space smaller. What we’re looking at here is considerably tight for a current, modern facility.”

Zoning Board Chairman William Fredericks said the consultant’s report will be available for review at the Village Hall and will be posted on its website. The board will accept written questions and comments on the report until May 16 and consider them for discussion at its May 22 meeting.

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