WPCNR LETTER TICKER. Letter to the Mayor and Common Council Shared with WPCNR July 30, 2014:
Dear Mayor and Common Council,
We believe we have uncovered another FASNY manipulation of the facts. . .if FASNY and the City Staff were supposed to perform Mitigation to make all the Traffic Problems significantly less or disappear entirely in the SEQRA Findings and the Special Permit documents. . .it didn’t happen… in fact with our calculations Traffic numbers for FASNY are a disaster!
First let’s review what we have found so far with FASNY’s Traffic information. . .
By our own calculations FASNY’s presence in our neighborhood assuming 950 students shows additional Vehicle Trips of 973 for an increases of 157% over base levels assuming FASNY’s 50% bus usage level. . .
And looking at just Bus Trips alone an increase of 90 bus trips if their 50% rate occurs in the real world. Our figure of 973 Vehicle Trips is a lot higher than the 530 number the FASNY Leaders were throwing around in their presentations and submissions.
And we also revealed FASNY’s biggest lie to date that. . .there is no such thing as mandatory busing.
Also while FASNY did stagger their start times with WP High. . .FASNY ignored the start times of the other 9 schools with combined students and staff of 2,500 already traveling each day into our neighborhood.
We’ll repeat the school list again because the FASNY proposal would increase the Traffic Safety Risk for each school:
First you have the German School which itself is expanding from 375 students to 500, then there are nursery schools (at Burke, Memorial Methodist, First Baptist, YWCA and Ridgeway Alliance), elementary schools ( Ridgeway and OLS) and Stepinac High School. You also have workers changing shifts at Burke, other commuters coming into White Plains for work as our own neighborhood residents commuting out to work on weekday mornings.
Getting back to the current problem we uncovered now with FASNY’s manipulation of the facts. . .we don’t think their 950 student number is real or is consistent with FASNY’s planned construction in their Site Plan Submission.
First let’s review some changes that took place between the Sequa Findings and the Site Plan submission:
→ FASNY’s student population was reduced from 1,200 to 950 in the SEQUA findings. . .a 21% reduction.
→ In their Site Plan submission FASNY increased their building construction square footage to 261,200 sq. ft. from their 230,863 sq. ft in the Seqra Findings and FEIS. . .for an increase of increase of 13%.
→ And FASNY in their Site Plan is now building on 53.2 acres, up from 45.69 in the SEQUA Findings and FEIS, for an increase of more than 16%.
In the Site Plan if FASNY’s student population was reduced to 950 or 21%. . .wouldn’t you expect to see their building construction scaled back proportionally . . .as most rational building developers would rather spend less money to reduce their upfront investment. FASNY instead in their Site Plan FASNY is increasing their building construction 13% to 261,200 sq. ft. Does this make sense to anyone?
Since the FASNY Leaders have been around White Plains we feel that in their communications and submissions they have been less than forthright, disingenuous, misleading, manipulative, etc. . .the Common Council has seen it too. However, the one thing you have to admit is that the FASNY people believe they are smart. . .and they believe that have fooled our Mayor, City Staff and some of our Common Council from the beginning of this review process. . . so we have to give FASNY some credit.
Thinking they are smart we believe the FASNY leaders’ real plan is to increase their student population levels not back to 1,200. . .but up to at least the 1,400 level. What other reason would they have for their construction sq. ft. increases. Remember the saying “if you build it, they will come”. . .the more students FASNY takes in. . .the more tuition dollars they collect to cover their upfront construction costs.
We arrived at our 1,400 student number by going back to their FEIS of September 16, 2013 where FASNY was projecting a 1,200 student population with 230,863 sq. ft. of building. . .and we assumed that if FASNY now wants its building construction to be 261,200. . .it’s probably to accommodate an increased student population so we applied a proportional growth percentage and came up with 1,400 as their real target.
A key question the Common Council should ask now is. . .with FASNY ‘s expanded 53.2 acre school campus and construction building of 261,200 sq. ft. . .what is the maximum number of students that this newly expanded FASNY complex can accommodate? We wouldn’t trust FASNY to answer this. . .however we’re sure the City can find a building expert somewhere to come up with an answer.
To us what FASNY appears to be doing is since they have fooled our Mayor and a few of our Common Council so far. . .they now are submitting construction plans for the maximum number of students they will ever need. . .so FASNY will never have to come back to the City for future expansion requests.
The $64,000 Question is “Do our Mayor, City Staff and Common Council understand that they can’t allow FASNY to submit building plans for a student population of 1,400 along with traffic plans for a school population of only 950 (which we already showed they didn’t calculate correctly)? If FASNY is submitting building plans for a student population of 1,400. . .then traffic has to be calculated at the same 1,400 population. . .according to our understanding of SEQRA regulations. . .and again common sense. We’re sure the Planning Board, if asked, can provide guidance.
So we went back to relook at our Vehicle Trip numbers again and expanded some of the figures to include the 1,200 and 1,400 population levels:
→ previously with 950 students we showed Vehicle Trips 973, up 157% over base levels with 90 bus trips.
→ with 1,200 students Vehicle Trips would be 1,193, 192% over our base levels with 120 bus trips.
→ with 1,400 students Vehicle Trips are 1,347, 217% over our base levels with 140 bus trips.
We just applied the same Vehicle Trip calculation formula we used previously. . .which ever method of calculation you choose to use the basic concept is “more students = more Vehicle Trips= more Traffic Safety Risk”.
The Mitigation performed by FASNY and the City Staff reducing the student population to 950. . .by our calculations show Vehicle Trips, 90 Bus Trips and 157% increase over base levels. . .is totally unacceptable by any rational person’s standards. . .while the number of Vehicle Trips at the 1,200 and 1,400 student levels that we have newly calculated. . .are so outrageously high that just FASNY bus trip totals would exceed that of all bus trips currently coming into our neighborhood today!
By FASNY’s actions to date we know they don’t care about our neighborhood residents. . .however if our Mayor and this Common Council approved this FASNY project it would destroy our neighborhood character, quality of life and property values for sure. . .while violating SEQRA regulations.
Isn’t the purpose of Mitigation under the SEQRA regulations not to make resident living conditions worse?
And here in our neighborhood not only would resident living conditions be made worse. FASNY and whoever on the Common Council votes to approve FASNY’s plan would really be putting the Traffic Safety of all current WP students as well as FASNY students at severe risk. Isn’t there something wrong with all the FASNY misleading and stonewalling that has taken place. . .if end result of this FASNY project places School Children, Seniors and other WP Residents at risk?
How would you feel if someone proposed a project near your own house and neighborhood that “tripled” Vehicle Trips along with a significant increase in Traffic Safety issues?
So would you consider FASNY and the City Staff’s claim of Mitigation. . .more Spin, a misstatement or an outright lie?
We report. . .you decide.
Your Truth Police, Team Rhodes
Marie and Ron Rhodes
22 Robinhood Road