Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) has Attacked #NoHospitalDowntown for filing a lawsuit challenging the legality of approvals that MVHS has obtained from State and local authorities for its Downtown Hospital Project. In response to MVHS's "Just the Facts," we post here "Just the
1. At MVHS's behest, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York have unilaterally agreed to raze 12 historic buildings in the Project footprint. They have agreed to do so, admitting that they do not know the impacts to archeological and historic resources. The Letter of Resolution executed by these parties admits that impacts are as of yet unknown, no mitigation plans are in place, and these parties will look at this in the future, privately. and maybe will discuss/agree to mitigation. or maybe not.
2. The Planning Board of the City of Utica relied exclusively on the Letter of Resolution in its SEQRA findings statement. In other words, the Planning Board found that impacts to historic, cultural and archeological resources were mitigated to the maximum extent practicable - even though no one yet knows the full extent of impacts, even though there are no mitigation plans are in place, and even though the parties may never actually put any such plans in place. (And, even if they do, the Planning Board will have been done and out of the loop.)
3. All of this is contrary to the regulations implementing the New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Law, as well as abjectly unacceptable under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act.
4. Apparently, MVHS (and cooperating state and local agencies) believe they need not follow the laws of this State because the Project is a hospital. That, however, is not the law of this State, and the plaintiffs in this action seek simply to have the defendants comply with the law.
5. In addition, despite MHVS's attempt to denigrate #NoHospitalDowntown and its members, the fact remains that the Landmarks Society of Greater Utica and the County Historian are challenging this Project because of the irreparable damage and loss of historic resources that will needlessly result from the defendants' collective short-circuiting of state-mandated review processes that are designed for the benefit of all. The defendants' actions set a dangerous precedent that stands to proliferate negative impacts far exceeding the scope of this Project.
6. And, in denigrating #NoHospitalDowntown, MVHS's "facts" conveniently ignore the drastic impacts that will result from this Project, including the invocation of eminent domain to take private properties, the full-scale destruction of 12 historical buildings, and the destruction of the character of the Columbia-Lafayette neighborhood as a whole. #NoHospitalDowntown, its members (including those directly impacted), and other plaintiffs whose mission is to protect and preserve historically significant structures and neighborhoods rightfully believe that this is a worthy fight.
7. In the end, MHVS's attack on #NoHospitalDowntown is sadly more of the same - a further perpetration of back-door political maneuvering, lying to the public, and desperate attempt to garner public opinion for its Project in the face of a legitimate challenge that seeks nothing more than to make the parties comply with the laws of this State.
You can help, please join us on Facebook #NoHospitalDowntown. Also consider adding your voice to Hundreds of People Saying, "No Hospital Downtown". Get to know BUD, that's the future of the Columbia Lafayette Neighborhood!