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Bronxville Board to Hire Help in Hospital Proposal

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – The Bronxville Zoning Board of Appeals announced Tuesday it will hire an architectural consultant who specializes in hospitals and planning to give them advice on the proposed addition to Lawrence Hospital.

Zoning board chairperson Richard Szypula made the announcement at Tuesday night's monthly meeting and asked architect Fred. C Clarke, who has been assisting the village, to find a consultant who has expertise in the field.

"The consultant will review all of the submissions made by the hospital and state codes and village codes," Szypula said. "We will then be advised about what kinds of questions we should be asking."

Szypula said that the hospital is obligated to foot the bill for the services as part of its application process.

Hospital President Edward Dinan was matter of fact about the new development.

"It's all part of the process," Dinan said. "We have nothing to hide."

He added that the process has been a long one for the hospital, which first filed its application before the Bronxville Planning Board last March.

"It is an unfortunately long process, but we are prepared to do what we need to do," he said.

Alger Court resident Helen Levitz has been to nearly every meeting representing herself and her neighbors against the size and location of the addition, although they support the need and cause for the expansion.

"We are heartened that the zoning doard decided to retain a medical planner to help assess the overwhelming complexity of the hospital's expansion proposal," Levitz said. "It is heartbreaking to the neighbors that the last pocket of green space in the area would be converted to a cityscape, even as they work assiduously to preserve every last tree in Alger Court."

Levitz and many of her neighbors galvanized and hired legal representation to seek a full environmental impact statement on the project that would have to lay out alternatives that were considered, and why they were dismissed.

The hospital has proposed a three-story addition slated to be located on the northeast portion of the hospitals existing building. The addition would add an estimated 39,000 square feet of space to the building and would mostly be devoted to a cancer center. The basement floor is planned to be the site of a radiation therapy center, and the first floor would be devoted to an oncology infusion center. The third floor is planned to have six new updated operating room, which are currently 50 years ago.

In order to construct the plan as proposed, the hospital will need variances from village codes that will allow the footprint of the addition to come within 2 feet of the sidewalk, and put it directly across a narrow street from the condos on Alger Court.

Neighbors there said they fear noise from huge chillers and HVAC units that will be right across from their windows. The project also calls for the removal of 31 mature trees.

Dinan said that the hospital has been planning for this space for a long time, and no other options are feasible.

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