Suit claims city attempted to shortcut law when it comes to mayor’s proposed jail sites

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MOTT HAVEN -

A new lawsuit claims that the city attempted to shortcut the law when it comes to the mayor's proposed jail sites across the boroughs.

The proposed new jail site in Mott Haven has been a controversial topic, and last week opponents filed a lawsuit claiming the measures taken by the city are illegal.

News 12 spoke with one of the lawyers representing those opposed to the new jail site, and they say the main issue brought up in the lawsuit is the land use review procedure.

They explained that the city grouped all four proposed sites from across multiple boroughs into one land-use review procedure, which they say has never been done before.

Adam Stein's firm is representing those filing the lawsuit. Stein says that by combining the sites, they neglect the environmental impact each site might feel. Stein says that unlike the other proposed plans, the Mott Haven jail site is the only jail not located next to the courthouse, and the city must take into account its location and the impact it will have on the community around it.

The lawyers tell News 12 that a more comprehensive and transparent review must be done for each individual location, especially the Bronx. They argue that Mayor Bill de Blasio is trying to speed the process along for political gain in the hope of closing Rikers Island as soon as possible.

Stein says the city has a few weeks to respond to the lawsuit, but they have not heard back from them yet.

A spokesperson from City Hall told News 12 in a statement, "We've been engaging with surrounding communities for each proposed site for months and are taking their feedback into account, but nothing will derail us from our mission to close Rikers Island."

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