WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. August 22, 2014:
Dear Mayor and Common Council,
While there has been much talk in the national media about transparency and openness in government. . .the sad fact is that little has been done at the national, state or local level anywhere so far. The City of White Plains, if our elected leaders so choose, could be a leader here with this FASNY project.
So perhaps the Mayor and Common Council can help inform residents with your thoughts on the following questions:
1. Over our 35 years in White Plains major development projects have been submitted by NY Hospital and Burke Rehabilitation. . .both world-class medical institutions and long-time WP neighbors. . .yet these major projects were rejected because past Common Councils felt they were too big, didn’t fit and would have destroyed Open Space in the City. So now with the FASNY submission. . .Why are the Mayor and Common Council’s focus on the benefits of a school rather than “the impact of the size and nature of the project itself” on the community. . .particularly one that would significantly add traffic, decrease home values and destroy Open Space?
2. If “more students = more Vehicle Trips = more accidents”. . .Who on the Common Council and in the City Administration is more interested in securing approval of the FASNY project for an outside developer. . .than protecting our own school children and senior citizens from greater risk from FASNY’s “tripling” of Vehicle Trips?
3.. If the purposes of the WP zoning code (section 1.5) is to protect the character of neighborhoods. . .Who on the Common Council and in the City Administration is trying to circumvent the existing zoning in our neighborhood and on the old Ridgeway Golf Course. . .to help an outside developer with a “regional school campus” for students that do not live in White Plains?
4. When an applicant of a large project, like FASNY, has a submission under review by the City. . .Do Common Council members and those in the City Administration have a fiduciary responsibility to disclose possible conflicts of interest, if any, including prior business relationships, campaign donations and future promises with this same applicant?
5. If FASNY and City Staff errors, inaccuracies and incompleteness were made in the SEQR Process and Findings particularly on Traffic, Water and our Neighborhood Character and were not corrected in the Site Plan submission. . .When do our outside Common Council members, who are professional business people who know that “facts matter”, take a stand to demand that honest and accurate information be presented to the public and themselves? Or do Council members continue to follow what the Mayor demands you to do or your political party asks of you?
Forgive us for asking these questions. . .however to date the City has conducted a rather lengthy and in our opinion flawed review process. . .leaving residents, including ourselves and we suspect some Council members, with more questions than answers. We find it strange in that we normally read about a City joining together and supporting residents to oppose a large developer. . . except now with this FASNY project what we see is our own City and FASNY working together behind the scenes trying to steamroll residents. Isn’t this a concern for Common Council members particularly if City departments were coerced to provide misleading input and conclusions to the Council?
Has anyone else realized when you look at our national, state and local governments. . .when any of them start to pick winners and losers. . .the only losers turn out to be taxpayers. And with FASNY as a non-profit. . .residents as taxpayers will be paying more for the privilege of having FASNY in our City.
In any case we have to give our congratulations to the village leaders in Mamaroneck who had the courage to stand alongside residents in trying to fight off a developer’s request for a zoning change for the Hampshire Golf Course.
So isn’t this a good time for our Mayor and Common Council to clear the air, provide some transparency to residents, start asking some questions and demanding accurate information from the City Staff and FASNY. . . before the public hearings start again? (September 8)
Looking forward for your information,
We report. . .you decide.
Your Truth Police, Team Rhodes
Marie and Ron Rhodes
22 Robinhood Road