The following letter from Ron and Marie Rhodes, who have been conducting extensive analysis of the French American School of NewYork updated site plan for the planned school campus on the old Ridgeway Country Club have sent this letter to the Mayor of White Plains and Common Council this week and shared it with WPCNR. 5 Days before the 8th continuation of the French American School of New York extended hearing on the revised “mitigated” site plan for the organization development of the former Ridgeway Country Club, the self-styped “Truth Police” write:
Dear Mayor and Common Council,
After reviewing FASNY’s Revised Site Plan of October 20, 2014 we would like to share with the Common Council some of our concerns and questions with FASNY’s Constructions Plans.
However, it’s important for all of us to keep the “Big Picture” in mind. . .that FASNY’s Construction of a regional school campus on 53 acres is out of Character in our neighborhood of single family homes and out of Compliance with the White Plains Comprehensive Plan and other WP laws.
Further complicating FASNY’s Construction is that the old golf course property they acquired. . .some of which is designated environmentally sensitive land, other parts have steep slopes unsuitable for building and some sections cover underground streams which will require the expert opinion of the Army Corps of Engineers as to the location and amount of building allowed.
As we all try to understand the Construction Plans. . .FASNY hasn’t helped WP citizens or themselves by constantly changing their plan details and being less than forthcoming (i.e. truthful) in communicating facts. For example in the SEQR Findings the Common Council reduced FASNY’s student population down to 950. . .yet in the first draft of their Site Plan FASNY actually increased their building square footage 30 thousand for the same 950 student population.
Now in their Revised Site Plan FASNY is taking credit for reducing their building size 30 thousand sq ft back to where they were. . .yet FASNY is still using their original FEIS building square footage which was for a student population of 1,200. Confusing to say the least. . .and gives us an indication that FASNY’s real plans are for a student population of 1,200 or higher.
Our questions that we would like to see our Common Council get FASNY to address at the November 24th Review Meeting are:
1. If FASNY still has not reduced its building square footage to correspond and reflect the 950 student population cap. . .is there anyone who doubts that FASNY will be really building a school campus for a student body of 1,200 or higher. . .and is just not being truthful to the WP Community about what their real plans are?
2. How is FASNY on page 3 of the Cover Letter to their Revised Site Plan stating “the remaining buildings continue to comply with the Zoning Ordinance standards for Building Coverage (20% permitted, 4.2 proposed) and Floor Area Ratio (40% permitted, 5.5% proposed, and various setbacks.”. . .if the property FASNY acquired is made up of 4 separate parcels of land and the 78 acres of the Conservancy is a separate activity? Does it appear to anyone else looking at their Exhibit 1 map. . . that FASNY’s buildings, roadways & paved bike paths, parking, turf-type ball fields and their attempted take-over of Hathaway Lane. . .concentrate all of their Construction, or you could say destruction, by covering a lot of impervious surfaces in a residential neighborhood currently of Open Space?
3. Does their proposed Closure of Hathaway Lane. . .allow FASNY to combine 2 of their parcels of land and in the process allow more Construction without FASNY having to apply for additional accessory permits?
4. Shouldn’t FASNY be required to give a detailed breakout of the Construction coverage of their 53-acre campus by buildings, roadways & paved bike paths, parking lots and ball fields?
5. And how does FASNY’s 3 miles of paved bicycle paths and the 48 ft paved roadway off North Street, the first 200 ft of which is about 60 ft wide, impact the environmentally sensitive designated land it’s on and the size of the Conservancy itself?
6. If FASNY’s project is the largest building proposal ever for a WP residential neighborhood. . .does the City of White Plains have Construction Procedures in place specifically for residential areas?
7. Is anyone concerned that FASNY is dragging out their Construction over 10 years. . .only because of their need to do a lot of additional fundraising along the way?
8. Isn’t a 10-year Construction process in a residential area. . .cruel and unusual punishment for residents who live nearby?
9. What happens to our residential neighborhood. . .if FASNY’s fundraising is unsuccessful and their Construction is left unfinished midstream?
10. FASNY’s representatives have tried to compare their Private School to a Public School. . .however doesn’t the WP Public School System secure the financing upfront before any School Construction Projects begin?
11. And isn’t all of WP Public School Construction completed within a few years?
12. Should FASNY be required to have all their Construction money upfront or a Construction bond in place before any work begins?
13. And wouldn’t it be better for White Plains. . .to limit the scope of Construction to the amount of funds FASNY has upfront?
14. And if FASNY has the Construction money upfront. . .why would Phase I Caps or for that matter a 10-year Construction Plan even be needed?
15. With all our existing local and out of town morning commuter Traffic and our 10 schools currently operating around our residential neighborhood. . . shouldn’t Construction Work and Deliveries start after 10AM each morning. . .in order to safeguard our Children, Seniors and Commuters?
16. Who from FASNY will be in charge and responsible for their Construction. . .including what streets Construction Vehicles and Workers can travel on and where they will have to park?
17 FASNY is claiming that they have 75 ft setbacks. . .yet if you go to Exhibit 7 in their Revised Site Plan. . .why are they still showing 25 ft side yard setbacks? And why is the paved 8 foot wide bike path within the 25 ft setbacks?
18. And shouldn’t all the paved bike paths be beyond the 75 ft setbacks?
19. On page 2 of FASNY’s Revised Cover Letter. . .what does “move trail on Parcel B from 10 feet to 50-60 feet from residential property lines” mean. . .if FASNY is supposed to have 75 ft setbacks?
20. With regard to FASNY’s 3-D presentation. . .how is it this 3-D shows that existing residential houses and FASNY’s newly planted trees look larger than the FASNY school buildings?
We can’t wait for the Army Corps of Engineering input and analysis. . .as we learned in our own due diligence 35 years ago before we bought our current house. . .that a developer could not build on the golf course without undertaking substantial and costly hydrology studies to identify where all the underground streams were located. . .so we’re delighted the Army Corps is investigating.
In the meantime:
21. Who to date has determined that FASNY’s building foundations will not interfere with the existing underground streams on the old golf course property?
22. With all the buildings, impervious paths and surfaces. . .who so far has determined where all the rain water will flow to?
23. If FASNY misrepresented or gave incorrect documents and maps to the Army Corps of Engineers, a federal government agency, is that a punishable offense in any way?
24. With the Conservancy. . .what “sponsored activities” will be allowed? Could a “sponsored activity” something like the “Great Jack O’lantern Blaze” that is held in Croton around Halloween each year and attracts over 100,00 people be allowed on the Conservancy? Wouldn’t a “sponsored activity” like this negatively impact our neighborhood? Who is looking out for WP neighborhoods?
25. In view of how misleading the FASNY representatives have been to date. . .shouldn’t the City have 100% control of the Conservancy going forward. . .since FASNY originally promised and communicated this to all WP citizens when the Conservancy was first proposed?
26. When the Common Council meets on November 24th. . .will FASNY once again announce that they changed their plan details from their most recent Revised Site Plan submission of October 20th. . .in an effort to avoid questions from the Common Council. . .and once again confuse WP citizens and City Staff by having all interested parties looking at different FASNY plans?
Thanks in advance to the Common Council for questioning FASNY and searching for the Truth,
We report. . .you decide. Your Truth Police, Team Rhodes
Marie and Ron Rhodes