Saturday, July 31, 2010

CB2 locks the zoning at St. Vincent's site


July 27, 2010 - West Village, New York - Over one hundred members of the Coalition for a New Village Hospital came out to the Community Board 2 Full Board Meeting at Elizabeth Irwin High School on Thursday July 22nd to demand a resolution that would protect land use at the St. Vincent's Hospital Campus to ensure it is used for a hospital.

After hours of testimony, in a showing of solidarity with the community, the Board passed a resolution calling on elected officials and the Bankruptcy Court to protect the existing land use by opposing any changes to the zoning, use and occupancy or any other law that would eliminate hospital use at the site. The board also called on the Bankruptcy Court to set up a Community Council, with the aid of the New York City Corporation Counsel, to represent the community in the Bankruptcy Court's procedures.

Yetta Kurland, a civil rights attorney and member of the Coalition stated, "This is an incredible victory for our community. Thanks to the courage and leadership of many Community Board members and the continued hard work of so many who have been fighting since the hospital closed on April 30th, we now have a resolution that our elected officials must listen to. We will settle for nothing less than a hospital at the St. Vincent's site."

The strong language that "opposes all changes in land use" was not initially on the agenda for the meeting. But after hearing testimony from members of the Coalition for a New Village Hospital and other community members speaking in favor of a land lock, the Board changed course and demanded that the resolution be amended to include such language. Arthur Schwartz, a civil rights attorney and member of Community Board 2, negotiated the language for the amendment to the resolution which was passed by a vote of 29 for and only 6 opposed.

Another Coalition member and St. Vincent's Physician, David Kaufman, MD, stated, "The hundreds of thousands of residents that live and work on the Lower West Side and the physicians who serve them desperately need a full service hospital and emergency room. I congratulate and thank Community Board 2 for their support and recognition of this critical need."

Eileen Dunn, RN, a St. Vincent's nurse and member of the Coalition, thanked the members of Community Board 2 ; she said, "Community Board 2 has shown its true commitment to those they represent, and I thank them for acknowledging, through this resolution, the importance of the health and safety of the people of the Lower West Side."

The Board's resolution puts them on record opposing any changes to the zoning, certificate of occupancy or other part of the land use that would eliminate the hospital use. Community Boards, while advisory, are considered an essential part of the ULURP process required to achieve such changes. Speaker Christine Quinn who also plays a vital role in the ULURP process is also recently on record stating that she "will continue our push for a full service hospital here." A full copy of the resolution is included below.


At its Full Board meeting on July 22, 2010, Community Board 2 (Manhattan) adopted the following resolution:


WHEREAS, the closure of St. Vincent's Hospital has resulted in the community's loss of an emergency room, in-patient hospital, Level 1 trauma center and the capacity to address a widespread public health emergency such as a natural disaster or act of terrorism, creating a significant gap in the health care services available to the residents of this community board and the entire Lower West Side of Manhattan; and

WHEREAS, as heard by the community board during the June 14 and July 15, 2010 public hearings and at previous community meetings, there is widespread public support for the re-establishment of a full-service, acute care hospital on the former St. Vincent's campus, and the community board reiterates its strong support for such a hospital at such location, as well; and

WHEREAS, all or part of the current St. Vincent's campus is the most logical, cost-effective, and central location for the re-establishment of such a hospital or other health care facility that will adequately address the community's myriad health care needs, and, in fact, may be the only location suitable for such a facility, which compounds the urgency of this resolution.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Community Board No. 2 opposes all changes in land use laws, zoning rules, landmarks laws, or any other laws that would eliminate hospital uses at the site of the former St. Vincent's; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOVED that CB2 shall seek to petition the Bankruptcy Court and create a community committee to explore in a publicly transparent manner, all options for the St. Vincent's campus, and requests assistance from the NYC Corporation Counsel to assert such a petition; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that CB2 urges our elected officials to join the Community Board in this petition.

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