GEDNEY ASSOCIATION COUNSEL ADVISE COMMON COUNCIL REDEFINING A SITE ENVIRONMENTAL CHARACTER IS ILLEGAL

WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. From The Gedney Association. December 2, 2016:

Dear John,The Gedney Association has submitted to the Mayor and Common Council the legal opinion of its attorney, and environmental expert, with respect to the attempt by the French-American School of New York to have the Council reverse its earlier determination that the FASNY property is as an environmentally sensitive site (ESS). The letters of our attorney and expert are attached.

As you know, FASNY has submitted a revised site plan to the Common Council for approval. This time, FASNY is seeking to develop only a portion of its property, Parcel A, where the Ridgeway clubhouse is located.

The Common Council designated the entire FASNY property as an ESS several years ago, triggering a super majority vote requirement for development of the property. Now, in attempt to evade the supermajority vote protections of the White Plains zoning ordinance, FASNY asserts that its development site is not an ESS. 

The analysis by our environmental expert, Dr. Steven Danzer,
demonstrates that the Parcel A is in fact an ESS under applicable environmental laws and principles. Further, even at this late date, FASNY has not fully analyzed the wetlands features on Parcel A.

In addition, our environmental and land-use attorney, Howard Avrutine, has demonstrated that FASNY’s scheme to delist the property as an environmentally sensitive site is unlawful. A developer may not evade a municipality’s environmental protection laws by seeking to develop only part of a site that has already been deemed to be environmentally sensitive. Further, this tactic must fail because even the new development site is environmentally sensitive.

We are pleased that our counsel and expert have presented the Council with an accurate assessment of the unlawful nature of FASNY’s plan to circumvent our environmental protection laws. We are also disappointed that even at this late date, FASNY still has not performed a complete and accurate analysis of its building site. We trust that the Council will not side with this developer and abrogate the environmental protection to which all residents of White Plains and the surrounding area are entitled.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? 

Please write and call our Mayor and Common Council members to let them know that they should not side with a developer and abrogate our City’s environmental protection laws. The FASNY site is environmentally sensitive both with respect to local impacts and as part of the Mamaroneck watershed. These laws were enacted over three decades ago to protect our environment, and disregard of these laws will both harm the environment now and set a dangerous precedent for the future.

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