New York Presbyterian Hospital sued the city on August 16, naming Mayor Joseph Delfino and members of its Common Council as defendants. The litigation stems from the council’s rejection last month of two plans proposed by the hospital and its development arm, Royal Charter Properties-Westchester Inc.The hospital charges the city with trying to force it to donate 100 acres of its campus to the city to create a public park. One of the hospital’s proposals (Plan A) would have donated 60 acres of hospital grounds to the city for the park, which the council voted down by a 5-2 margin. The mayor voted for Plan A. The hospital’s alternate Plan B received a 7-0 no vote at the same meeting.

Plan A also entailed the development of 450 housing units (for sale and rental), 400,000 sf of retail and a 400-room hotel/conference center that have would required the city to approve a zone change application.

Plan B called for the development of a medical research park and some staff housing on hospital grounds. This proposal did not require a zone change, but an amendment to its special use permit, and would not have included the donation of land.

George Gretsas, executive officer of the city, says that that he had not officially been served with the lawsuit. “The city will, of course, defend itself against the allegations.” Dean Bender, a spokesman for New York Presbyterian, says, “The hospital did what any responsible land owner would do to protect its rights.”

In its suit, the hospital requests that the city’s alleged demand for the donation of public land as a precondition of plan approval be declared unconstitutional, that it overturn the denial of Plans A and B and order the council to refer both plans to city agencies for study. In addition, the hospital is asking the court to direct the city to pay for attorney’s fees and unspecified damages.


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