A deal is a deal. The hospital, the Borough, and the neighborhood that surrounds the hospital’s old site on Witherspoon Street agreed to a deal in 2006. Re-zoning was done specifically for the hospital’s benefit, in a way that would allow the hospital to receive a good price for the site. In exchange, the hospital agreed to requirements that would benefit the neighborhood and the community.
The new zoning is still in place. The Borough and the neighborhood are not challenging it. The hospital has a tentative buyer for the site and has received the benefit of that part of the deal. But AvalonBay, the hospital’s tentative buyer, is not adhering in any significant way to the agreements the hospital made that would benefit the neighborhood and the community.
I was interested to read a recent letter to the editor from the hospital’s CEO. I expected him to deny that the agreements exist. Interestingly, he did not deny them. Instead, he did not mention them. He ignored their existence.
Ignoring the agreements will not make them go away. Community members will continue to remind everyone of them. The Planning Board is fully aware of them. Everyone knows that a deal was made in good faith.
The hospital needs to uphold its part of the deal. It needs to require the buyer of the site–whether AvalonBay or some future buyer–to fulfill all the requirements in the agreements. A deal is a deal.
Anthony C. Lunn