WPCNR SOUTH END TIMES. By John F. Bailey. September 10, 2014:
The proceedings of the French American School of New York Site Plan/Special Permit wrapped up at 9:30 P.M. At the finish of the speakers, Mayor Tom Roach asked for a motion to continue the hearing on Monday, September 29 at 6:30 P.M. It was motioned and passed, keeping the hearing alive and ongoing.
Mayor Roach told WPCNR the meeting would be used by the Common Council to ask questions of the applicant. He said it would be open to the public. It is not clear at this time whether members of the public would be allowed to speak.
This would mean most likely that the time for community comment on the issue would probably be held open 30 days through October, allowing a vote to take place possibly the Monday before election day, November 3, at the regularly scheduled Common Council meeting, or at a Special Meeting after Election Day in November, or in December.
However, if FASNY needed more time to answer the Council questions posed at the September 29 meeting, the vote on the proposal would most surely be put off until after Election Day.
If the decision night was moved passed the Election Day, this assures the one Common Council seat up for election matching appointed Councilperson Nadine Hunt-Robinson against Republican Terence Guerriere would not be influenced by how Ms. Hunt-Robinson voted on the passionately debated FASNY issue.
At this point, sources close to the Democratic Party are saying 5 Councilpersons are expected to favor the project: The Mayor, John Martin, John Kilpatrick, Beth Smayda, and Ms. Hunt-Robinson with Dennis Krolian and Milagros Lecuona opposed. Five positive votes are needed to approve the project.
Krolian and Lecuona opposed the approval of the Final Evironmental Impact Statement last December have been consistent in opposition to the project. Krolian and Lecuona are to stand for re-election next November.
Thirty six persons were heard Wednesday evening at the continuation of the French American School of White Plains Site Plan/Special Permit public hearing, with thirty persons calling for the Council to deny the proposal for the 5-building campus on the former Ridgeway Golf Club, and six persons speaking in favor.
The overwhelming sentiments tonight challenged the Common Council to overcome their fearm of a lawsuit from the French American School and reject the project, a sampling of comments:
“Don’t OK it because of fear of litigation, for results (of an approval) may bring problems not just in the long run but in the future as well.”
“The losers turn out to be the taxpayers.”
“Focus on the law under the zoning ordinance: can you grant the special permit…The zoning ordinance does not allow ballfields or rec facilities in the R.I. 30 Zone. In approving a Special Permit, the effect (of granting a special permit) must be mitigated to be the same as before (construction).”
“FASNY and this Council have laid an egg (The project) is an outright insult.” (CORRECTION from original quote.)
“(FASNY’S conservation easement terms) is irreversible. FASNY seems to be playing a game of catch me if you can. Walk away from it. Don’t fall into their trap. It (the conservation ) is an insult. Vote No.”
“You took an oath you would be our eyes and ears. This is what your residents want. Have the backbone to pursue it. The effect on people’s lives Don’t destroy what has been built (in the neighborhoods).”
“Stick with your citizens — vote No.”
“Government should be for the people not by private developers.”
WPCNR interviewed Robert Stackpole in the hall tonight and he elaborated on his statement Monday that a private developer is interested in redeveloping the former Ridgeway Country Club as a country club. Mr. Stackpole said several billionaires and foreign companies from Austria are intrigued with redeveloping the golf course, establishing town house complexes on the fairways. He could not name the companies at this time.