Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Is this nursing home trying to pull a fast one?
A land-swap deal between Jewish Home and Hospital and Chetrit Group has enraged some Upper West Side residents who fear the for-profit developer will use Jewish Home’s special exemption in zoning laws to construct massive buildings on the site it’s acquiring from the nonprofit.
Jewish Home possesses an exemption to build higher than typically allowed under zoning rules that prevent the construction of tall buildings in the neighborhood. The city exempted Jewish Home so the nonprofit group could retain its right to someday build an efficient new facility on its West 106th Street campus—even a tall one—because such a project would also deliver a community service. Now, some residents worry that Chetrit Group will use the exemption that was given to Jewish Home so it can build high-rise housing instead.
“This is a classic bait and switch,” said Glory Ann Kerstein, co-coordinator of the Manhattan Valley Preservation Coalition. “Jewish Home got the carve-out from the zoning because they are a nonprofit, and now they want to give it away.”
Spokespeople for both Jewish Home and Chetrit Group denied the allegation.
The Chetrit spokeswoman said the company has no plans to use the exemption granted to Jewish Home and is currently examining neighborhood zoning rules to ensure the developer can build a viable project on the site. She said the contract between the two has not been signed yet.