SCHOOLMASTERING THE COMMON COUNCIL AND THE CITY LEGAL TEAM ON GROUNDS FOR THE SPECIAL PERMIT IN THE R1-30 ZONE

WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. August 12, 2014 (The following letter was sent to the White Plains Mayor and Common Council and was shared with WPCNR:)

Dear Mayor and Common Council:

In our last email we mentioned how our big picture question “Why and how does this 53-acre construction project fit next to single family homes sitting on 1/3 and 1/2 acres in a residential neighborhood?. . .was never discussed in FASNY’s Environmental Analysis section of their Site Plan Submission.
 
Also in this same Site Plan Submission in the Cover Letter page 8 we found that FASNY is claiming that they are eligible for a Special Permit. . .
Please see:        http://johnmeyerconsulting.com/fasny/site-plan-special-permit-submission/
 
Unfortunately FASNY’s statement is not supported by the facts.  If anyone past or present has told the Common Council that you have to grant a Special Permit to a school. . .they really should have said it depends on the type of school. . . yes, a “public school” would be eligible. . .however,  a “private regional school campus” is not eligible for a Special Permit. 
Please see:         http://www.cityofwhiteplains.com/DocumentCenter/View/619
When you look over Section 5.2 List of Use Regulations for District R1-30 zoning you will find that:
→  One family dwelling is a “permitted use”                                                                                                                                                                     →  Churches or other places of worship are a “permitted use”                                                                                                              →  Public schools are a “permitted use
However:                                                                                                                                                                                                            →  Private secondary or elementary schools require a “special permit” (note the word “or”)
→  Independent unaffiliated “nursery schools” or day care centers” located with a permitted church, other place of worship, “membership club” or “public school” or “private secondary or elementary school”  (again note all of the times the word “or” is used)
FASNY defines itself as a “regional school campus” and this list of permitted uses and special permits are pretty specific with regard to the word “or” and a “regional school campus” is not mentioned anywhere and was never an intended activity either for R1-30 zoning or in the WP Comprehensive plan.
 
→  One family houses and public schools would be a permitted use in our R1-30 residential zoned neighborhood. . .however a “regional school campus” is not an allowable use for a Special Permit under the City’s Zoning Ordinance. . .contrary to what FASNY is stating on page 8 of their Site Plan Cover Letter.
 
→  And FASNY’s Conservancy would not be eligible for a Special Permit by Section 5.2 regulations.
Based on all the voluminous documents that FASNY has submitted, where we now know more about FASNY than any of the schools our own children have ever attended,  . .it would seem that FASNY would fit best in the City’s zoning designation titled “Campus Office” for its 53-acre combined nursery, elementary, middle and high school.
Of course that means FASNY would never fit within the R1-30 residential district of our neighborhood. . .however the “Campus Office (CO)” designation would allow for FASNY’s campus to be located in the Westchester Avenue/287 corridor where there are ample roadways to handle their volume of Vehicle Trips.
 
→  FASNY’s “regional school campus” not only doesn’t fit next to Gedney Farms private residences on 1/3 and 1/2 acre based on Character. . .it doesn’t fit by the City’s own Zoning, Comprehensive Plan and Special Permits regulations. . .and FASNY’s “regional school campus” is not permitted by law according to Section 5.2 of the WP zoning.
Our hindsight question. . .back 3 years ago if the City had other applicants wanting to build here in our residential neighborhood on 53 acres with 261,200 sq ft of buildings. . .and like FASNY which were not permitted under R1-30 Special Permits. . .for example if IBM wanted to construct an office and factory, if Marriott requested a hotel and conference center or let’s say someone else wanted a large scale detox treatment center. . .all the same building size as FASNY’s. . .would each of these review processes have dragged on for 3+ years like FASNY’s or would each of these projects have been killed early on in the review process by the City?
 
The bottom line is all of these other possible projects like FASNY. . .just would not fit. . .and are not allowed by WP regulations.
Would you consider FASNY’s statement that they have to be granted a Special Permit. . .more Spin, a misstatement?
We report. . .you decide.
Your Truth Police, Team Rhodes
Marie and Ron Rhodes

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