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WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. September 21, 2014:

Editor’s Note: In a previous letter to the White Plains Mayor and Common Council, Marie and Ron Rhodes raised a line of thinking that the city leadership might pursue or at least ponder and ask themselves when the hearings on the French American School of New York resume September 29. The couple has gone over the documents submitted by FASNY with a fine tooth comb and in doing so have compiled a list of questions  the Common Council and the Mayor might ask the school when the gavel comes down September 29. To date, no one on the Common Council has asked any specific questions during the course of the hearings. The Rhodes team promised a list of questions and have forwarded these to the Mayor and Common Council

            Rhodes Questions. . .from the FASNY Public Hearings

                                                as of September 19, 2015


Questions for the Common Council

1.  If over the past 3+ years residents presented a lot of evidence to you for rejecting FASNY. . .including that their “Regional School Campus” which does not fit with the residential character of our neighborhood. . .does not cater to students from our own WP community. . .and is not in conformity with a number of WP laws and regulations. . .why isn’t there unanimous consent to say “no” to FASNY?   

2.  What does the Mayor and Common Council know. . .that we don’t know?

3.  Now that the WP Board of Education has weighed in on September 15, 2014 with such negative comments on the FASNY project and the North Street entrance. . .including the statement that the safety and welfare of our kids is more important than anything else. . .do you understand where your constituents have been coming from over the 3+ years?

4.  If the Planning Board in its August 25, 2014 letter is pointing out that FASNY’s Site Plan differs and has inconsistencies with the SEQR Findings and FEIS submissions, that FASNY’s 10-year Construction needs a site restoration bond and that the Planning Board was against the Closure of Hathaway Lane. . .isn’t this a significant pause for concern?

5.  As elected officials if you do not listen to your own Planning Board, your own Board of Education and your own residents. . .who do you listen to?


6.  Before the Common Council took over as Lead Agency for the FASNY project. . .did someone on the City Staff do the vetting to insure it was in conformity with our Comprehensive Plan. . .fit in with our residential neighborhood. . .and that FASNY had the money?

7.  As FASNY has been rather loose with hard facts and good with hiding information for 3+ years. . .what is going to change with the Common Council now asking questions?

8.  Why in all the FASNY submissions and presentations have FASNY factual errors and misrepresentations, for example on the Conservancy,  been overlooked and ignored?

9.  Isn’t there something wrong with all the FASNY misleading and stonewalling that appears to have taken place. . .if the end result of this FASNY project places WP School Children, WP Seniors and other WP Residents at risk?

10. As elected officials isn’t your fiduciary responsibility to search for the truth in all projects that come before you?

11.  And based on FASNY’s track record so far in White Plains. . .who believes that they will be honest enough on their own to monitor, enforce and report on their questionable Mandatory Busing Plan,  Vehicle Trips, Drop-offs and Parking violations. . .without control and oversight from the City Police and Traffic Department?

12.  By the way, what happened to the 83-acre Conservancy that FASNY was donating to the City?

13. Help us out. . .if the City has 130 acres now of Open Space with the FASNY property. . .and FASNY uses 53 acres to build their regional school campus. . .how can FASNY be giving Open Space to the City and residents?

14.  Does anyone have any confidence in the FASNY leadership to deliver what they say?

15. The Mayor and Common Council challenged FASNY to make significant improvements in their Site Plan submission. . .so how did FASNY do?


16.  With the Common Council not asking FASNY any questions over the past 3+ years and the Planning Board only able to ask questions at a few of their meetings. . .has any large developer in WP, like FASNY,  ever been asked so few questions?

17.  Will you be asking FASNY softball, Matt Lauer-type, questions or challenging, Bill O’Reilly-type, questions?

18.  Who on the City Staff is responsible for helping the Common Council coordinate all of the different FASNY submissions, consultant reports and Public Hearing comments?

19.  What is the Mayor and Common Council doing with all of our correspondence and transcripts of our presentations?  Is someone on the City Staff summarizing them for you?

20.  Has the City been reimbursed by FASNY for time the Staff and Consultants, who were on the City’s payroll, were helping FASNY during this review process?


21.  Why don’t you let the Planning Board, who has experience asking project development questions, participate at least initially on the key issues involving Traffic, Water, 10-year Construction, Property Values and Neighborhood Character?

22.  If the Mayor at the December 19, 2013 SEQR Findings meeting said we are all “bound by the law”. . .will the Common Council be following the Mayor’s directive in your voting?

23.  Who has been advising the Common Council on the Law. . .that a “private school” has to be granted a Special Permit. . .particularly when expert legal opinion implies that municipalities often use Special Permits for uses less desirable than the Permitted Uses?   (see Steve Silverberg’s website on Special Permits)

24.  And who has been advising the Common Council that the FASNY project is in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan, Zoning, Special Permit and other regulations. . .because it isn’t?

25.  If the City’s Zoning code. . .Section 1, Purpose, part 1.5. . .says zoning is in place to protect the character of the neighborhood. . .is it right to try to get around our zoning to destroy our neighborhood?


26.  Why are the Mayor and some of the Common Council enamored about a “school” rather than being concerned about “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?

27.  How did FASNY and the City Staff perform mitigation. . .if afterwards neighborhood residents are left with “unmitigable” conditions on Traffic, Water, Construction, Character and Property Values?

28.  Isn’t the purpose of Mitigation under the SEQR regulations. . .not to make resident living conditions worse?

29.  And isn’t the # 1 rule of elected officials. . .to not make living conditions worse for citizens who voted for them?

30.  If the City Staff and Common Council suggested the North Street Entrance because Ridgeway is only a “connector” street while North Street is an “arterial street. . .why was Traffic made worse in the process?


31.  When it became apparent that the North Street entrance made Traffic worse. . .why didn’t you have the outside consultant TRC relook at the Traffic situation to provide a Second Opinion?

32.  If FASNY itself rejected the North Street access back in the DEIS. . .what changed in the  environment and character of our community since the DEIS that the North Street access is now FASNY’s “perfect  choice “?

33.  And was the North Street access really studied in depth at the same time compared to the Bryant Avenue and Ridgeway options as required by SEQR?

34.  Isn’t the closing of Hathaway Lane another sign that the FASNY project is just too big for our residential neighborhood and out of sync with our Comprehensive Plan?

35.  Why would anyone want to close Hathaway Lane. . .if it increases Fire Response Times to neighborhood residences and creates more risk for our School Children attending nearby schools?


36.  If “more Students = more Vehicle Trips = more Accidents”. . .isn’t a project this size in a residential area a risk for our own School Children and Senior Citizens?

37.  Why didn’t you order FASNY to do an independent hydrology study. . . when you were advised years ago by residents of its importance. . .in part because the original golf course was built by covering over underground streams?

38.  Why hasn’t the Mayor and Common Council made an official Site Visit to our neighborhood going door-to-door asking residents for our thoughts and concerns about FASNY?

39.  Why hasn’t an outside Appraisal Company been hired to determine the loss of property values on homes most impacted by FASNY’s Construction and for our neighborhood in general?

40.  How does a 53-acre school, hotel or office complex fit in with a neighborhood character of single family homes?

41.  How can FASNY take 130 acres of current Open Space. . .put a regional school campus on 53 acres of it with 261,200 sq. ft. of building. . .that will “triple” Vehicle Trips in our neighborhood from students, staff and parents. . .and in their whole Site Plan “Environmental Section” not talk about how much FASNY will be increasing noise levels, pollution emission levels, greenhouse gases, carbon footprints or any other environmental measuring technique you would use. . . compared to what is generated now from the Open Space we have today in our neighborhood?

42.  Why hasn’t the Common Council as Lead Agency. . .because of the inadequate review of the North Street entrance in the FEIS, the closure of Hathaway Lane and the overall issue of the Conservancy. . .at the least requested a supplemental Environmental Impact Statements (EIS)?

43.  How can you accept a Site Plan Review that starts off with a significant 16% building increase from what you last approved in the SEQR Findings?

44.  Whatever happened to some of your old campaign slogans and core principles of the Democratic Party. . . preserving Open Space. . .protecting Neighborhoods. . .and taking care of Senior Citizens?

45.  With the FASNY project. . .aren’t we really talking about individual property rights. . .if you live on a street zoned for residential housing. . .is it right for the City to change the zoning to allow, for example a  gas station next to your residence. . .particularly if the gas station reduces property values?


46.  How would Common Council members feel if someone proposed a project near your own home and neighborhood that “tripled” Vehicle Trips, increased Traffic Safety issues and reduced your Property Values?

47.  By the way where is FASNY’s money?

48.  Shouldn’t the Mayor and Common Council members disclose all possible conflicts of interest, if any, including prior business relationships, campaign donations and future promises with FASNY?

49.  What happened to make some of our elected officials in White Plains so out of touch with residents, voters, taxpayers. . .and our own laws?

50.  With regard to the Westchester County Commissioner of Planning’s letter dated June 26, 2014 praising FASNY’s SEQR submissions and the selection of the North Street Entrance. . .

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