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Lawrence Hospital Project Facing Legal Challenge

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- At a meeting where members of the Bronxville Planning Board revealed their thoughts and Lawrence Hospital President Edward Dinan said he would go back to the drawing board to make some changes, residents of the condominiums adjacent to the hospital said they have hired an attorney to fight the proposed hospital addition.

Jane Strachan said the residents had contributed to a fund in order to hire the high-powered law firm of Carter, Ledyard and Milburn, of New York and Washington, DC.

Strachan said a legal team will help residents fight the hospital's proposal to add an addition that will be less than 100 yards from their property.

"We do not like the plan that has been proposed, we want to the architecture to reflect what is special and unique about Bronxville, and further we do not want a building that is only four or seven feet back from the road," Strachan said at Wednesday's planning board meeting. "But at the same time, we want everyone to know we support the hospital growing and providing services to the community."

At issue is a proposed 39,000 square foot addition that will be placed on the northeast portion of the hospitals three-acre site. The $34.4 million dollar project will add seven new jobs to the hospital and will not add any new entrances or exits to the campus, but will take away some of the open space in front of the hospital, adding an tunnel-like entrance designed to protect the privacy of cancer patients undergoing treatment.

The three story building will host a radiation therapy center in the basement, and a medical oncology infusion center on the first floor, both treatments for cancer.

On the third floor of the new addition there will be six state of the art operating rooms. The current operating rooms were built in the 1950's and work well but are outdated and below today's standards, particularly when it comes to size, hospital officials have said.

Planning Board Chairman Donald Henderson said that one of his concerns with the project was the proposed entrance. Henderson also objected to the proposed plain brick wall that will have no windows and will face the condominiums.

"I would like to see alterations made so that this portion of the project can be made more attractive," he said.

Board member Anna Longobardo said she would not vote in favor of the project in its current form.

The board told Dinan that since they have not signed off on the project, it is not the appropriate time for the hospital to bring the project before the Zoning Board of Appeals. Dinan was hoping details of the proposal could be worked out with planning board while the zoning board could begin their portion of the approval process.

Dinan did agree to ask his architects what could be done to soften the severity of the brick wall, and to eliminate the corridor-like entrance to the new addition.

"We will do our best to be good neighbors," Dinan said. "We are not here to make enemies.

Resident Jay Applebaum said the solution to building the addition may be a compromise, a process his said may be painful for both sides."To resolve this matter, there may have to be some give and take," he said. "We all know that we can't always get what we want."

The planning baord will meet again next month when board members will hear information from their own consultants about the impact on the noise level around the hospital once the proposed addition is up and running.

What do you think about the proposed Lawrence Hospital addition? Tell us on Facebook at the Daily Eastchester or The Daily Bronxville .

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