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UWS Nursing Home Developer to Fight Ruling Forcing New Environmental Review

By Emily Frost | January 7, 2016 2:13pm
 The project is now set to begin construction in the summer of 2016. JHL said it will appeal the court ruling regarding its environmental review.
The project is now set to begin construction in the summer of 2016. JHL said it will appeal the court ruling regarding its environmental review.
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UPPER WEST SIDE — The nonprofit building a 20-story nursing home on West 97th Street is fighting a ruling that ordered a new environmental review of the development before construction can begin. 

Jewish Home Lifecare filed court documents on Dec. 30 stating it will appeal a Supreme Court ruling that requires the State Department of Health to redo its environmental review of the project. 

Earlier in December, the court ruled that the Department of Health did not take a "hard look" at the environmental impact of noise and toxins created during construction of the tower, which will sit next to a school and a residential community. 

Nearby tenants, as well as parents and the PTA from adjacent elementary school P.S. 163, filed lawsuits against JHL citing possible detrimental effects on their health, well-being and students' education caused by the construction. 

“Jewish Home remains deeply committed to moving forward with this innovative and pioneering model of elder care," a spokesman said. "Our intention is to commence construction as soon as the ligation is concluded."

In response to the Supreme Court ruling on the two lawsuits, the nonprofit previously said that whether it appealed the court's decision or worked with the state on a new environmental review, plans to begin construction in summer 2016 "will not be significantly delayed."

Rene Kathawala, a parent from P.S. 163 who represented parents in the initial suit, said the group respects the decision to appeal and will wait for the opportunity to explain why the decision should be upheld. 

"The heart of Judge Lobis’s decision was aimed at DOH’s and JHL’s indifference to the health and safety of school children as young as three," Kathawala said in an email. "Instead of responding to those very serious concerns, JHL continues to pay its lawyers and consultants in an effort to reverse the inescapable conclusion that harm will result if the project is approved as presented in the final environmental impact statement."

Martin Rosenblatt, a neighbor who helped with the tenants' lawsuit and has advocated against the nursing home project, said the tenants are also "actively fighting back" against the appeal and will soon file their own papers in response to JHL. 

"We will do whatever we need in court to make sure that this unjust and unfair project never takes place," he said. 

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