Common Council to Consider Resolution to Remove Commissioner of Planning Today at 5 P.M.

WPCNR COMMON COUNCIL CHRONICLE EXAMINER. By John F. Bailey. January 22, 2015:

As first reported by WPCNR yesterday afternoon the city is taking action to remove its Commissioner of Planning, Elizabeth Cheteny.

The City Clerk has noticed a Special Meeting of the Common Council today to vote on a resolution to remove Elizabeth Cheteny as Commissioner of Planning. According to Section 20 of the City Charter, it takes a simple majority vote of 4 to 3 to remove or retain a Commissioner or Officer.

Ms. Cheteny according to reliable sources was asked to resign Tuesday afternoon, and has been also reported by other city sources as considering whether to resign.

The Mayor’s Office did not respond yesterday to WPCNR questions as to what Ms. Cheteny’s status was, or  who would take over the Planning Commissioner position going forward, or whether there is going to be an Acting Commissioner appointed, or a national search conducted.

Ms. Cheteny was called at the Planning Department yesterday and today by WPCNR, and messages left with persons answering the phone taking messages requesting her to clarify her situation. She has not as of 11 A.M. returned the calls

WPCNR received a telephone call saying I should refer all questions to the Mayor’s Office, which this reporter had done yesterday and no statement on the matter has been issued as of 11:20 A,M.

Ms. Cheteny, if she is removed will have been Commissioner of Planning for two years and three months since starting with the city in October, 2012. She was the first new hire appointed by Mayor Tom Roach.

At that thime, Ms. Cheteny had had broad experience in the field of planning. She has worked in the public and private sectors; for governments, not-for-profits and in academia. As a senior land use planner and economist with more than 25 years of experience, Ms. Cheteny has directed planning projects involving municipal and institutional comprehensive planning, zoning, environmental review, as well as historic, scenic, and open space preservation.

Ms. Cheteny spent the majority of her career (fifteen years and eight months, according to her resume), with the environmental consulting firm, AKRF, Inc., rising to the position of Vice President, before leaving for an academic position at the University of Buffalo in 2004.

AKRF is a firm White Plains has commissioned for years as environmental consultants. AKRF consulted extensively on the formulation of the closure plan, recently begun by the City of White Plains on the Gedney landfill.

For the last year and a month before her appointment  Ms. Cheteny served as the Environmental Program Manager for the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, at which she directed all aspects of the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) of a new clinical science center proposed for the campus.

Prior to the Roswell post, from April 2004 to June 2010, Ms. Cheteny served as Director of Planning for the Urban Design Project, a center in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo the State University of New York. She was also a Vice President at the environmental and planning firm, AKRF, working in their offices in New York City and Westchester County, and eventually, opening and managing their western New York office.

Ms. Cheteny has extensive government and not-for-profit experience as well. She is a former trustee in the Village of East Aurora, NY; she co-founded the Western New York Southtowns Scenic Byway; and is a board member of the Chestnut Ridge Conservancy and Western New York Land Conservancy. Several of her projects have received awards from the American Planning Association, including the Olmstead City – Buffalo Olmstead Park System: Plan for the 21st Century and the Niagara Falls Main Street Plan.

Ms. Cheteny has led economic revitalization studies for municipalities around the state. She has managed a number of environmental impact statements (EISs) for large-scale projects in the New York City metropolitan area, and conducted numerous socioeconomic and fiscal impact studies on development proposals, tourism-related projects, and recreational projects.

Mayor Roach when he brought her in said, “Betty Cheteny brings an extraordinary breadth of experience to the City’s Planning Department. Whether working with municipal governments, academic institutions, health care institutions or private sector clients, Ms. Cheteny has brought a thoughtful and informed approach to planning. Her collaborative nature has enabled her to work successfully with community organizations and other stakeholders on a wide variety of projects. I believe that Ms. Cheteny will build on the strengths of our Planning Department and help White Plains continue to move forward in a dynamic, smart and progressive fashion.”

He has issued no statement on her present situation.

 

 

 

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Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New York Opportunity Agenda in a Nutshell

WPCNR ALBANY ROUNDS. From the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. January 22, 2015:

The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo outlined an ambitious Opportunity Agenda in his State of the State speech Wednesday. Here is a synopsis of his major proposals. At the end of this list you may read perhaps the longest news release he has ever issued, detailing the proposals step-by-step by clicking on the phrase “view the press release here,” and for policy buffs really into the action you read his Policy Book by clicking on the phrase: “2015 Opportunity Agenda Policy Book.” (At the end of this  report.)

 

  • Enact $1.7 billion in property tax relief for 1.3 million homeowners and tax relief for more than one million renters
  • Cut small business taxes from 6.5% to 2.5%
  • Pursue a bold and innovative pre-K to 12 agenda, including professionalizing teaching; strengthening teacher evaluations; rewarding excellent teachers with performance pay; transforming the state’s failing schools; expeditiously but fairly removing ineffective teachers from the classroom; and expanding choice for charter schools and enacting an Education Tax Credit
  • Continue to build our economy through a $1.5 billion Upstate New York Economic Revitalization Competition, a new round of Regional Economic Development investments, the creation of a $35 million Global New York Export-Import Development fund, and numerous other programs
  • Build a new New York with a comprehensive plan to strengthen and modernize our infrastructure, including modernizing NY’s airports; building new Metro-North stations in the Bronx; upgrading upstate ports and rail depots; and investing in repairs and upgrades of our roads and bridges throughout the state
  • Ensure statewide high-speed broadband access by 2019
  • Raise the minimum wage to $10.50 statewide and $11.50 in NYC as part of a ten-point Anti-Poverty Opportunity Agenda
  • Enact a ten-point Women’s Equality Agenda
  • Ensure a fair and equal justice system for all New Yorkers
  • Expand SUNY’s Sexual Assault Policy statewide to private colleges and universities
  • Pass real campaign finance reform to reduce the influence of money in our political system
  • Raise the age within New York’s outdated juvenile justice laws to change how the justice system treats youth offenders
  • Watch a video of the Governor’s presentation here.
Watch a video of the presentation and view the press release to learn more about all the proposals presented today.
You can also read the full 2015 Opportunity Agenda policy book.
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WEATHER SCOOP: POSSIBLE LIGHT SNOW OVERNIGHT. COLD, CLOUDY THURSDAY, FRIDAY SUNNY COLD

  • Overnight-- Light snow likely, mainly before 1am. Cloudy, with a low around 24. North wind 5 to 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
  • Thursday– A slight chance of light snow before 1pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 37. Wind chill values between 20 and 30. Northwest wind 5 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
  • Thursday Night-- Mostly clear, with a low around 23. Wind chill values between 15 and 20. Northwest wind 8 to 11 mph.
  • Friday – Sunny, with a high near 35. Wind chill values between 15 and 25. Northwest wind 5 to 8 mph.
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PEOPLE TO BE HEARD INTERVIEWS CESAR ANDRADE AS TENNIS INNOVATORS ACADEMY OPENS at EBERSOLE RINK

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JOHN BAILEY

INTERVIEWS

CESAR ANDRADE

ON THE NEW TENNIS INNOVATORS INDOOR TENNIS BUBBLES

AT EBERSOLE ICE RINK IN WHITE PLAINS

SEE THE INTERVIEW AT

www.whiteplainsweek.com

Scroll down and pick out the ANDRADE INTERVIEW..click and get in the mood for

Tennis, Everyone!

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Finishing touches being put on three of the courts in late December. Courts are lined, heated and ready for Mr. and Mrs. and Ms. White Plains

FOR INFORMATION ON MONDAY’S OPENING ACTIVITIES AND HOW TO PLAY

GO TO

Tennis Innovators Academy

Delfino Park, 110 Lake St, 
White Plains, NY 10604

914.428.2444
info@tennisinnovators.com

 

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WHITE PLAINS WEEK THE JANUARY 16TH PROGRAM ON THE INTERNET NOW

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JIM BENEROFE RETURNS TO WHITE PLAINS WEEK

 

 

 

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REUNITED!

THE WHITE PLAINS WEEK NEWS TEAM

NOW ON

www.whiteplainsweek.com

JIM BENEROFE IS BACK WITH PETER KATZ AND JOHN BAILEY

ON

THE NEW SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS

55 BANK STREET TO FINALLY START AFTER 8 YEARS OF WAITING

THE RENTAL WAVE

THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION WILL NOT BLOCK FASNY FOR WHITE PLAINS– COMMON COUNCIL MUST OK BEFORE  DEC REVIEWS FASNY PROJECT

AMY PAULIN ON THE HUMAN TRAFFICKING LAW AND THE WOMENS EQUALITY ACT

THE WHITE PLAINS HOUSING MARKET TODAY

 

 

 

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“Keep the Children Out, Build More.” White Plains Westchester Residential Opportunities Sues Bronxville for Allegedly Discriminating Against Families with Children

WPCNR WHITE PLAINS LAW JOURNAL. From Westchester Residential Opportunities. January 15, 2015:

Executive Director Geoffrey Anderson of Westchester Residential Opportunities, Inc. (WRO) announces that WRO today filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Village of Bronxville and developer Gateway Kensington LLC for illegal housing discrimination against families with children. Mr. Anderson remarked: “Housing discrimination in all forms must be challenged, so that families and people of all ages are welcome in our communities. Bronxville and its developer have deliberately set out to design and market new condominiums to deter families with children from moving into the Village.”

Bronxville has created an “age-targeted” special permit in its zoning code, which allows developers to build more units than allowed as of right if the housing is “designed to appeal primarily to individuals and couples without children,” as stated in Bronxville’s code. In 2013, Bronxville granted an “age-targeted” permit for the development of 54 condominium units on Kensington Road at a downtown site owned by the Village near the Metro-North train station. The apartments are intentionally designed with few bedrooms and with dens lacking closets and placed far from bathrooms. Moreover, the development will not offer any child-friendly amenities.

Director of Fair Housing Marlene Zarfes said the following: “Such discrimination is not only wrong but illegal. Municipalities violate fair housing laws when they develop housing for so-called empty nesters and discourage families from living in their communities. While age-restricted housing for seniors can be created legally under federal law, it must be for those either 55 or 62 and older.”

The lawsuit is being filed under both the federal Fair Housing Act and New York State’s Human Rights Act for discrimination based on familial status and age. WRO’s investigation of the Village, which led to the filing of this lawsuit, was supported by a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Fair Housing Initiatives Program.Founded in 1968 to fight housing discrimination in its region, Westchester Residential Opportunities, Inc. is a private nonprofit organization and a federally approved housing counseling agency. Its mission is to promote equal, affordable, and accessible housing opportunities for all residents of the Lower Hudson Valley.

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Long-Stalled 55 Bank Street LCOR Project Receives Westchester IDA Tax Savings, Clearing way for 8-year Delayed Project to Start Construction in March.

LCOR

WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Office of Communications. (EDITED) January 15, 2015:

The 8-year delayed 55 Bank Street project planned for the West side of town to be built on the White Plains commuter parking, (originally approved during the Mayor Joseph Delfino administration) will begin construction in March, apparently $250 Million in financing in place, according to Britta Vander Linden, a spokesperson for Westchester County.

As of 4 PM, LCOR’s public relations agency, Quinn Incorporated has not returned a WPCNR call for confirmation of the start and finish date and sources of the financing. The City of White Plains has not issued a statement though asked.

County Executive Robert P. Astorino today announced that Westchester’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA) has approved amendments allowing a $250 million transit-oriented development of housing, retail and parking planned for a site just south of the Metro-North train station in downtown White Plains to proceed. The complex to be built at 55 Bank Street will create up to 533 new construction and permanent jobs.

The Westchester County IDA voted to approve $3.3 Million in sales tax abatement and $3.2 Million in Mortgage Recording Tax abatement to LCOR on the project, Ms. Vander Linden told WPCNR.

“This project offers convenient, affordable housing for the county’s workforce near a transit hub that will get them to their place of work or wherever they want to go,” said Astorino. “This kind of private investment is moving Westchester forward, and was made possible by the Westchester IDA and the leaders at LCOR who realize the value of Westchester.”

The project at 55 Bank Street will be comprised of two 16-story apartment buildings to be constructed on a site currently occupied by a commuter parking lot. LCOR acquired the site from the White Plains Urban Renewal Agency. The 760,000-square-foot complex will include 449 market rental apartments, 112 affordable rental units, 6,300 square-feet of retail space and a 570-space parking garage. Construction is expected to begin in March.

“You don’t get a 561-unit apartment complex built without the collaboration of the Westchester County IDA,” said James Driscoll, senior vice president of LCOR Inc. “Thanks to County Executive Astorino’s economic development team, we look forward to supporting the continued revitalization of downtown White Plains, delivering housing along with parking and retail in a highly desirable transit location.”

(Editor’s note:) The project has been delayed 8 years because LCOR had not been able to find financing because of the economic conditions the last 7 years. It is not clear at this time whether LCOR has completed payments to the City of White Plains for the commuter parking lot on Bank Street where the project is to be built.

In September, the Common Council approved some minor amendments to the site plan. Here is a reprint of what WPCNR reported September 3:

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The 55 Bank Street site.

 

The national developer LCOR presented its revised site plan for two mixed use residential buildings on the 55 Bank Street site which currently is the city municipal parking lot. The site plain is a revision of a site plan originally approved by the Common Council in 2007 during the Delfino Administration.

 

The new LCOR proposal suggests two  16-story apartment rental buildings with 6,000 square feet of retail,  and 561 rental units with 20% of them designated as affordable housing. The North building would be built first, then after that the South structure will be started. A 120 room hotel is also viewed as part of the site, but is not firm at this time, however 86 parking spaces will be included for the hotel as part of the underground parking structure providing for the two buildings. Previously the parking structure was to be above ground.,

 

According to papers, LCOR is up to date on its payment for the commuter parking lot. However whether they have paid $16 Million as originally obligated, has not been confirmed by the city and the LCOR public relations agency , Quinn, Incorporated, previously declined comment on whether the commuter municipal parking lot property was completely paid for, or still owed the city money for the lot. LCOR negotiated the postponement of their last two payments until construction started, which is expected to begin “as soon as possible.”

 

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Custom Penthouse at the White Plains Ritz Carlton Sells for $10 Million

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Living at the Top of Westchester: The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton–shown during the Criterion Bicycle Races last year–site of the $10 Million Penthouse in Tower Two, slightly behind Tower One in foreground.

WPCNR DOWNTOWN WHITE PLAINS TOWN. From The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton. January 13, 2015:

Louis R. Cappelli, Managing Member of Renaissance Rental Partners, LLC, sponsor of The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, has announced the sale of a 10,700 sq. ft. full floor penthouse in Tower 2 of the mixed-use development comprised of two 42 story residential towers and a full service Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

The price for the customized penthouse located on the 41st floor is $10,500,000.

The buyers, whose names are not disclosed, are a European family whose business interests include real estate on an international level.

In addition to this sale, the last penthouse in Tower 1 was also sold in the 4th quarter of 2014 to an American financial executive. The price for the 41st floor, 5,200 sq. ft. customized penthouse was $5,000,000.

“These sales represent the largest condominium homes to be sold in Westchester County and reflect the growing confidence on the part of not only American buyers, but Europeans who clearly understand the true value of top quality real estate outside of Manhattan,” said Cappelli. “These individuals are savvy buyers who know that a comparable residence in Manhattan would be triple or quadruple the price.”

Cappelli pointed to unequaled views of the Manhattan skyline, Long Island Sound and Westchester/Connecticut countryside, coupled with the ability of buyers to take a raw penthouse space and design a residence customized to their individual taste as important factors in the decision to purchase.

“Of course”, he added, “the fact that the incredible space and views are complemented by the legendary service provided by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company management, creates the perfect package for an unprecedented lifestyle.”

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Photograph of the NIGHT: The WPCNR VIRTUAL FIREPLACE. MIDWEST TEMPS SEND MERC DOWN DOWN DOWN. WEATHER SERVICE SEES NO RELIEF IN SIGHT

2015113 024WPCNR VIRTUAL FIREPLACE.  The temperature has plummetted 15 degrees since noon,  so WPCNR is providing this virtual fireplace. Simply place your hands on the website and let the warm heat just flow into you, people!

  • Tonight–Partly cloudy, with a low around 14. Wind chill values between 5 and 10. Northeast wind 5 to 7 mph.
  • Wednesday–A chance of flurries before 3pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 28. Wind chill values between 5 and 15. Northeast wind 5 to 7 mph.
  • Wednesday NIGHT– chance of flurries after 10pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 20. Wind chill values between 15 and 20. North wind 3 to 6 mph.
  • Thursday–Partly sunny, with a high near 29. Wind chill values between 15 and 25. North wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the morning.: 

 

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15 Charged with Drug Trafficking in Westchester

WPCNR FBI WIRE. From the Federal Bureau of Investigation. January 13, 2015:

reet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, George Venizelos, the Assistant Director-In-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and George N. Longworth, the Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, on behalf of the Westchester County Northern Narcotics Initiative, announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging 15 defendants with conspiring to distribute heroin, crack cocaine, and powder cocaine in and around Westchester County from at least in or about January 2014 up to and including in or about January 2015.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Bharara stated: “Illegal, damaging drugs such as heroin, crack and cocaine continue to be scourges of many communities north of New York City. We and our federal and local law enforcement partners are determined to prevent drug organizations from taking root in our communities, as evidenced by today’s charges and arrests.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Venizelos stated: “With the scourge of drugs often comes addiction and violence that can cripple a community. We will continue to dismantle the infrastructure for distributing heroin and cocaine, wherever we find it.”

Commissioner Longworth stated: “I am grateful to the FBI and the local chiefs of police who committed resources and personnel to this year-long, multi-agency investigation. I would also like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Westchester District Attorney’s Office for partnering with us to combat the scourge of heroin in our communities.”

According to allegations in the Indictment unsealed today in White Plains federal court:

The Indictment charges 15 defendants and contains three counts. Count One charges LAKUAN RHYNE, a/k/a “Rico,” 22, JESSE DABBS, 24, DAIVON PRYOR, 19, JONATHAN THORNTON, a/k/a “Staxx,” 29, JOHNSON VANIYAPURAKAL, 26, and ALLEN WRIGHT, 24, with conspiring to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, one kilogram or more of heroin in and around Westchester County, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 846, 841(a)(1), and 841(b)(1)(A).

Count Two charges RHYNE, DABBS, MICHAEL DOUSE, 38, MICHAEL GRAY, 48, ANGELO HARRIS, 34, KEVIN HERBIN, 23, KEVIN MALLORY, 43, ROBERT MILLER, 35, DWAYNE MOUNTAIN, 27, and THORNTON with conspiring to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, 280 grams or more of crack cocaine in and around Westchester County, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 846, 841(a)(1), and 841(b)(1)(A).

Count Three charges RHYNE, DABBS, CURTIS DIMMIE, 47, DOUSE, GRAY, MICHAEL HARRINGTON, 34, MALLORY, MILLER, THORNTON, and VANIYAPURAKAL with conspiring to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, 500 grams or more of cocaine in and around Westchester County, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 846, 841(a)(1), and 841(b)(1)(B).

The charges against each defendant and the corresponding maximum potential penalties are outlined in the chart attached to this press release.

* * *

Twelve of the 15 defendants charged in the Indictment unsealed today were arrested today or had previously been taken into custody. Those defendants were presented in White Plains federal court this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy. RHYNE was previously taken into custody by Arkansas state authorities, and will be presented in White Plains federal court on a future date.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI, the Westchester County Northern Narcotics Initiative, comprised of the Westchester County Department of Public Safety and the police departments of Peekskill, Croton-on-Hudson, Buchanan, Bedford, Yorktown, Mount Kisco, and Ossining, as well as the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force. He also thanked the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office for its participation.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys George Turner and Michael Gerber are in charge of the prosecution. Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Graham is responsible for the forfeiture aspects of the case.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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