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Queens and Bronx civic groups continue their battle against borough tower prisons : Patch  A group of homeowners in Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Briarwood is planning to sue the city in a last-ditch effort to stop a new jail from going up in their neighborhood and get the mayor's office to return to the drawing board.The group, which calls itself the Community Preservation Coalition, is preparing to file an Article 78 lawsuit over the city's decision to approve building a new jail in Kew Gardens, part of a $9 billion plan to replace the detention facilities on Rikers Island with a new jail in every borough except Staten Island by 2026. Article 78 refers to a civil law that empowers New Yorkers to challenge decisions made by public agencies or officials on the grounds that it was unlawful, arbitrary or capricious. "We really want them to do a meaningful review," Kew Gardens Civic Association President Dominick Pistone told Patch in an interview. "We don't think they've fulfilled their obligations under the City Charter."The New York City Charter lays out a series of design and funding details that officials must include for a capital project to be approved by the mayor.  Members of Queens Community Board 9, which voted unanimously against the Kew Gardens jail plan last year, previously accused the mayor's office of failing to meet those requirements in a Sept. 27 letter to the City Council.  The Kew Gardens Civic Association, which is helping spearhead the legal effort, sent a letter to homeowners Wednesday soliciting contributions to fund the lawsuit, pitching it as "an investment in preserving your home," according to a copy obtained by Patch.NY PostA group of South Bronx residents is suing the city in a bid to block a new jail from coming to their neighborhood as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s larger efforts to shutter the Rikers Island prison complex.The suit, filed Tuesday in Bronx Supreme Court on behalf of the Diego Beekman Mutual Housing Association and other parties, seeks to halt construction on a 19-story, 886-bed jail planned for the site of the NYPD’s tow pound in Mott Haven — a neighborhood located in the nation’s poorest congressional district.It alleges the de Blasio administration and City Council broke the law by snubbing alternative sites for the jail, failed to reveal the true environmental impact of the project to residents and snubbed the entire public-review process.“The Mayor and Council Speaker broke the law and rigged the process to saddle a low-income community of color with a jail, plain and simple,” said Arline Parks, CEO of Diego Beekman Mutual Housing Association, which represents 5,000 residents in 38 buildings. Full Article
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