Angela M. Elefante, Esq.

January 23, 2018

Mr. Michael Bosak, News Bulletin Editor Landmarks Society of Greater Utica

Dear Mr. Bosak,

I am writing you as a member of the Landmarks Society concerning the group supporting a hospital in downtown Utica. I understand that the MVHS Group intends to acquire and demolish approximately 50 or more properties located in the oldest part of the City. With the incredible amount of money given to properties for In Lieu of Tax Agreements, some which are not justified, one wonders who is going to pay the taxes and make up the loss of revenue if this should occur. There are some critical questions which have to be answered and I would like to list them as follows:

First and foremost, has an archeological study been scheduled for the part of the City that is to be demolished along with procedures for safekeeping any artifacts or important historical relics that might surface as a result of this demolition? So many historical buildings in Utica have been torn down without regard to preserving the history of this community. Cities across the country have Society’s such as yours and are facing an uphill battle to preserve the history and integrity of these locations.

Was a Certificate of Need filed and approved in Albany by the proper State agencies?

Was an engineering survey scheduled in this area to determine what properties were actually needed? What could be left in existence? Does the MVHS have an EPA Study on the properties to be acquired? What are their findings? Were grid maps furnished to property owners to determine what is underground on their respective property? Have test borings for soil conservation been made?

Has a budget been figured out by MVHS for site acquisitions and demolitions?

Why are the property owners responsible to indemnify themselves to clean up any problems on contamination on the properties MVHS is acquiring?

What financial institutions in New York State will be selected to sell the bonds?

Was there a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation study made?

Has the New York State Department of Transportation provided the hospital with a traffic study?

With the properties to be acquired and demolished along with the building of an expensive parking garage, how can the taxpayers continue to pay high taxes for these properties since they are losing them once the property is taken down and if In Lieu of Tax Agreements continue to be given, who will be responsible for the payment of these exorbitant taxes?

The media, locally, has been lax in reporting detailed information and not checking items in the budget that need to be explained to the taxpayers. There is also the problem of a red zone. The United States Department of Transportation in their emergency response guidebook under dangerous goods – hazardous materials, designates a 1⁄2 mile radius on any train track route used to transport flammable oil and toxic materials. If a critical train spill should occur, it would be dangerous to evacuate people from a hospital located in this area.

Was the traffic pattern reviewed since they will have doctors who live out of town who will not be able to make emergency calls within a short period of time?

The community has had no input on where they would like the hospital to be built and, therefore, it is in their interest to have a referendum put on the ballot to decide where the hospital should be located. There has been no economic impact study done nor has the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) been invoked to find out if this area is viable for the hospital.

There has been no economic impact study done nor has the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) been invoked to find out if this area is viable for the hospital.

Have any of these properties scheduled to be taken had the water, sewer and electric utilities been noted and checked? Utica is an old city, these utilities are old and they should have been repaired long ago on special government grants.

The questions that are proposed in this letter are critical especially to the Landmarks Society since many valuable buildings will be torn down indiscriminately. I sincerely hope that your Society will notify MVHS on what properties need to be salvaged and which have historical significance for this community which at one time used to be so elegant and beautiful.There has been no economic impact study done nor has the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) been invoked to find out if this area is viable for the hospital.

Have any of these properties scheduled to be taken had the water, sewer and electric utilities been noted and checked? Utica is an old city, these utilities are old and they should have been repaired long ago on special government grants.

The questions that are proposed in this letter are critical especially to the Landmarks Society since many valuable buildings will be torn down indiscriminately. I sincerely hope that your Society will notify MVHS on what properties need to be salvaged and which have historical significance for this community which at one time used to be so elegant and beautiful.

On a final note, the hospitals in Utica have over 1,000 beds in both locations. What would happen to the cardiac and orthopedic units at St. Elizabeth’s, especially if the beds are reduced from 1,000 to 375? Who will take care of the patients in this community?

Sincerely,
Angela M. Elefante, Esq.

Member of Oneida County Bar Association Member of the New York State Bar Association Member of the Federal Bar, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Hague Academy of International Law, Netherlands

Editor’s Note: Regarding contact with MVHS, Trustees of the Landmarks Society met with MVHS representatives in December of 2017 and with NBBJ, the architectural firm for MVHS in the April/ May timeframe for the purpose of saving critical buildings. However, these meetings were strictly “for show” on the part of MVHS who have no desire to spare any historic or potentially historic buildings.


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