They Paved Paradise

| 17 Feb 2015 | 01:05

    Park West Village tenants: green space destroyed for parking lot

    Upper West Side Tenants of Park West Village at 97th Street and Columbus Avenue are in court to prevent their landlord from converting green space they use as a recreational area into a parking lot, even though construction is well underway.

    Historically, tenants parked in the West 97th Street parking lot on land that is now owned by Jewish Home Lifecare, which plans to build a 20-story nursing home on the site. JHL obtained the property in a 2011 land swap deal with developer Joseph Chetrit, who owns Park West Village. Tenants also parked at the West 100th Street parking lot, which Park West Village has its own plans to build over.

    As parking spaces are built into the tenants' lease agreements, and negotiations for alternate parking accommodations failed, Park West Village decided to convert green space located between its three residential buildings into a parking lot for tenants against their wishes.

    Lawyers for the tenants are appealing a decision by the state that allowed construction of the parking lot on the green space ? known by tenants as the "central recreational area" ? to go ahead. The case is scheduled to be heard by Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Anil Singh on June 4.

    "Judge Singh has prohibited the landlord from compelling members of Park West Village Tenants' Association to move their cars from the 97th Street parking lot or the 100th Street parking lot while the lawsuit is pending," wrote lawyers Catherine Grad and Douglas Simmons in an April 20 update to tenants. "He has not, however, stopped the landlord from completing work on building parking spaces?in the central recreational area of Park West Village. We believe that, if we win the case, the landlord will be required to restore the recreational space and open area that used to exist at Park West Village."

    A Park West Village spokesperson couldn't be reached for comment.

    Meanwhile, JHL's nursing home project has stirred no shortage on controversy in the community. Critics, including State Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell and City Council member Mark Levine, contend that construction of the nursing home will disrupt students at nearby P.S. 163, cause traffic congestion in the area and threaten the neighborhood's open spaces.

    Public hearings on JHL's draft environmental impact statement are being held May 7 and 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of P.S. 163, located at West 97th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.