Hearing that Never Ends Ends. Mayor and Council Close Hearings on FASNY Site Plan and Hathaway Lane Closure with Issues to Resolve With FASNY

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WPCNR SOUTH END TIMES. By John F.Bailey. December 3, 2014:

Mayor Tom Roach raised the most serious question of all Wednesday night  at what turned out to be the last combined public hearing on the French American School of New York Project:

The Mayor in his comments said  he felt the French American School of New York would have to assume some liability if the traffic count of 530 vehicles in the peak hour of 8 AM to 9 AM approached the area of 470 after the first phase of school construction was opened, the inference being that Phase II (building of the lower school might not be builet). You could have heard a pin drop.

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The Mayor’s inference that FASNY may have to drop the Phase II costruction of the lower school, set to be begin after the upper and middle schools are complete) if traffic pushed the preset limit of 530  was the first time the issue had been raised. The Mayor also spoke at length on stormwater management, a plan for which is being devised with Commissioner of Public Works, Joseph Nicoletti, but is not yet approved.

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At the outset of the meeting, Michael Zarin, the French American School of New York attorney, introduced a letter from the Army Corps of Engineers that had arrived late Wednesday afternoon at his offices, saying that there were three areas on the former golf course property they had jurisdiction over, but were not concerned over FASNY plans because no construction was being planned for them.

Zarin also noted a letter from Commissioner of Public Safety David Chong just received had indicated concern of lane widths of Hathaway Lane to be used by fire vehicles, but that has not been confirmed explicitly.

The combined hearing that never ends (The French American School of New York site plan and Hathaway Lane closure) was closed  by unanimous vote of the Common Council at 8:51 P.M. with major issues on fire response time raised by  Councilman John Martin, who said strongly that the comments of Fire Pro’s report ( commissioned and supplied by the Gedney Association) on response time had to be addressed;  landscaping, the  storm water pollution prevention plan, traffic issues on north street are still being strongly questioned by the Mayor Tom Roach, Councilman Dennis Krolian, Martin, Coucilwoman Milagros Lecuona, and Councilwoman Beth Smayda.Councilwoman Nadine Robinson did not make any comment according to an observer who filled WPCNR in on the first 10 minutes of audio-less telecast.

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Audio for the first 15 minutes of the meeting was not available, so the comments of Ms. Smayda was not heard by the home audience enjoying “Dinner with FASNY” on their television sets.

For three hours and 51 minutes,  the last of the FASNY public hearings  played out with the public being admonished four times  by the Mayor to resist vocal pleasure or disagreement with what was said.

Councilman Krolian when Mayor Roach called to close the hearings at about 8:45 P.M. asked the Mayor when the council would have time to question requested information from FASNY asked for in this evening’s hearing. Mayor Roach said he would extend the comment period to 15 days from this evening for the public to render comment. The Mayor indicated that the French American School of New York would present their answers  to Council questions and resolve the issues with the staff and the council.

It is unclear whether FASNY comments in response to council questions raised tonight would be discussed in a public  Common Council work session or in private behind closed doors at city hall, and how those FASNY answers would be promulgated to the public before a vote was taken.
Councilwoman Milagros Lecuona ascertained that the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan was submitted in May by FASNY to the Commissioner of Public Works Joseph Nicoletti. Lecuona read a city ordinance that requires a storm water plan to be submitted before any site plan can be considered.
The FASNY attorney, Michael Zarin said a SWWPP plan had been submitted in May of this year and it was “accepted” but not approved. Zarin said the elements of the SWPPP were still being discussed and considered on an “ongoing, daily basis”  with the Commissioner.
Until that plan is “approved” by Mr. Nicoletti, the site plan cannot be voted upon by the Common Council.
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