UTICA, N.Y -- The State Supreme Court in Albany is advancing the case against the Mohawk Valley Health System downtown hospital SEQR process with a decision by Judge L. Mackey to grant or deny several motions in the case.
The No Hospital Downtown group says the decision proves their case has merit.
On Dec. 12, shovels went in the ground to mark a cermonial beginning of construction of the ten story, 672,000 square foot facility.
The lawsuit calls into question the state environmental quality review of the property.
"We expect further procedural maneuvering by MVHS and the Planning Board, however we continue to be both financially and legally well-positioned to defend the public's wishes against this urban renewal scheme," said No Hospital Downtown co-founder, Brett Truett. "The public was shut out on this, so we have no alternative but to fight for justice," Truett added.
New York's State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) requires all state and local government agencies to consider environmental impacts equally with social and economic factors during discretionary decision-making, according to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
"This is a major setback to the Planning Board and MVHS," No Hospital Downtown co-founder Jim Brock said. The Albany court's decision means anything MVHS is doing is totally at risk. While it appears NYSDOH has advanced a small portion of funds 'promised' by the planned $300 million grant, we believe MVHS will not get full state funding until the SEQRA issues are resolved in their favor. We contend, and today we see the court agrees, the SEQR documents and process were flawed."
The planned completion date for the facility is still set for Feb. 2023.
Click here to read the full court document.
MVHS released a statement regarding the decision:
“Supreme Court Justice L. Michael Mackey released his findings on our challenges to the Article 78/Declaratory Judgment proceeding. Judge Mackey dismissed all portions of the Article 78/Declaratory Judgment proceeding due to procedural inaccuracies with the exception of the challenge to the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process.
"Overall, this is a very positive ruling as the majority of the proceedings were dismissed, including the challenge that the Site Plan review was not timely. The judge has determined that the Site Plan is valid and we will continue work on the project.
"The judge’s determination that the procedure to challenge SEQR was properly followed means the next step would be for the court to hear the SEQR challenge based on the merits of the case.”