Judge dismisses lawsuit against new MVHS Downtown Utica hospital

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A state judge has dismissed the civil action brought by several landowners and others trying to stop the consolidated Mohawk Valley Health System hospital in Utica.

Supreme Court Justice Bernadette T. Clark issued a ruling Thursday dismissing the suit brought by the Landmarks Society of Greater Utica, No Hospital Downtown, and several property owners. Clark found that the Utica city Planning Board did properly carry out an assessment of environmental impacts as required in state law, including ensuring alternatives were assessed, among them using the site of St. Luke’s Hospital instead of the downtown-Utica site. She also found that the opponents brought their matter too late, after construction had started.

The hospital construction is under way, with steel erection begun last month. Clark noted she saw the construction herself on site Aug. 14, noting that buildings had been demolished, concrete footings and steel were in the ground. The opponents did not seek an injunction to stop the work, Clark wrote in her order. “There can be no doubt that it would be a substantial hardship Respondent MVHS after they have expended millions of dollars when realistically this demolition work cannot be undone … the historic and archeological buildings have been demolished.”

Clark rejected the opponents’ contention that the planning board did not adequately assess effects on traffic and historic and archeological resources.

She noted that MVHS pledged to photograph buildings it has or might obtain and submit plans for minimizing or mitigating effects on them for state historic-preservation review.

MVHS President and CEO Darle Stromstad said it is “grateful to have this unnecessary and costly distraction behind us.

“While we are not surprised based on the effort and detail put into the filing of SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act), we are glad to have this case over and done! From the beginning – almost 18 months ago – we never let the petitioners slow down the progress on the community’s new medical center.”

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