WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. JULY 23, 2015:
Time for a Change
Councilman John Kirkpatrick’s comments on the FASNY application during the recent Common Council Work Session, in my view, showed incredible disdain for the neighborhoods in the south end of the City that have vigorously opposed the FASNYdevelopment. A few cogent examples:
• Mr. Kirkpatrick discussed his experience as a land use attorney while at the same time “complimenting” the neighborhood for arguing for a decrease in the proposed school population. How disingenuous. As any rookie land use attorney knows developers always ask for more than they expect to be approved. Secondly the neighbors in the vicinity of the former Golf Club never asked for a reduction in the school population: they believed placing a regional school of 260,000 square feet on the Club property was inappropriate and remains so;
• Mr. Kirkpatrick said that the Common Council must do what is best for all the residents of the City. Where was the groundswell for FASNY? In fact, over 3,000 residents from virtually every street in the City signed a petition against FASNY. Neighborhood associations throughout the City are on record opposing the project. Other than residents with some connection to FASNY support for the school has been miniscule. FASNY will pay no taxes in a City already constrained by budgetary limitations;
• Mr. Kirkpatrick smugly states that change is difficult and “neighborhoods deteriorate, although not this one”. In fact, since FASNY made its proposal residential property values have sharply declined which is the first step in a neighborhood’s decline. Yet amazingly not a word by Mr. Kirkpatrick of this critical point.
• Not surprisingly, Mr. Kirkpatrick did not cite the standards required for issuance of Special Permits under the City’s zoning law. Why? Because the FASNY application does not come close to meeting them and as Mr. Kirkpatrick knows all too well one of the standards is that any Special Permit use be in “harmony” with the neighborhood in question.
• Mr. Kirkpatrick focused on the so-called traffic modifications FASNY has made. But he makes no mention of our School Board’s letter calling the proposed entrance on North Street profoundly unsafe. He also chose notto mention the concerns of the City’s own traffic consultant regarding“mandatory busing” and other myths like FASNY vehicles will use the already congested Parkway instead of Mamaroneck Avenue and Ridgeway.
• Mr. Kirkpatrick never said a word about the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Again, no surprise. Why because the FASNY plan is not compatible with the Comprehensive Plan as the City’s own Conservation Board stated.
Finally, with a wry smile, Mr. Kirkpatrick said it is now time to declare “Victory” and approve FASNY and transfer a local street used by the residents to the school. I think a better “Victory” would be for residents to turn Mr. Kirkpatrick out of office should he decide to seek reelection and replace him with someone who will represent the residents of White Plains.
Mary Anne Connell