A set of persistent neighbors opposed to Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus have failed to block the school from expanding through a court case.
As with most every major controversial development, the opponents of the expansion—chiefly residents of the Alfred, a condo tower that shares a superblock with Fordham’s campus—filed a suit in court to block it. Yesterday, the decision to dismiss the case popped up on the state courts Web site, and, so it seems, the legal issues are now settled (though opponents may appeal).
From today’s WSJ:
The fight has its roots in the 1957 urban-renewal deal, championed by Robert Moses, in which the school received a “superblock” for its campus, running from West 60th to West 62nd streets and from Columbus to Amsterdam avenues.
But excluded from the land sale was Power Memorial Academy, a Catholic high school on the block that closed in 1984 and was later purchased by the developer of a 37-story residence called the Alfred Condominium.
In the lawsuit against Fordham’s plan, the Alfred’s condominium board charged that the city violated the covenants of the urban-renewal deal when it approved the expansion. For example, it said that under the terms, Fordham was required to use the remaining land on the site for academic uses for at least 40 years after the campus was completed. It also said the original deal limited building heights to 200 feet or 20 stories.
The court decision dismissed the complaint, essentially saying that Fordham was indeed certified as completing its urban renewal plan, and the City Council was right to approve the new expansion plan.
From the State Supreme Court decision, by Justice Judith Gische:
Any argument by petitioner that this action could not be taken by the City and Fordham because it was an effective alteration or modification of the LSURP, attacks actions taken decades ago which cannot now be challenged.