WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. From the Gedney Association. December 31, 2016:
(EDITOR’S NOTE: John Sheehan, President of the Gedney Association, long the opposition group to the French American School of New York proposal to build a 7 building campus on the former Ridgeway Country Club alerted the CitizeNetReporter to this legal development:)
“A very significant Federal Court decision was issued recently. A three judge panel rejected a developer’s claim for monetary damages and found that the Village of Mamaroneck acted within its rights in denying a development proposal for the former Hampshire Country Club and affirmed community opposition as a legitimate factor in the government’s decision.
There are many similarities between the former Hampshire Country Club and the former Ridgeway Country Club. Both:
- closed during the recent Great Recession;
- new buyers proposed development: housing on Hampshire and a regional school complex on Ridgeway;
- required discretionary approvals by elected officials;
- engendered overwhelming community opposition;
- proposals were turned down;
- had the same lawyer filing lawsuits after the proposals were denied;
That’s where the similarities end.
The Village of Mamaroneck remained steadfast in its position defending against its lawsuit and won! It didn’t cave in to the idle threats of a developer to inflict outrageous monetary damages upon the municipality.
In White Plains, despite a consensus that the City would prevail in its defense of the FASNY suit, the Mayor and three Common Council members (Martin, Kirkpatrick and Smayda) decided to quickly approve an agreement whereby FASNY would put their litigation on hold while the City would review yet another FASNY application.
Importantly, the three Common Council members (Lecouna, Krolian and Hunt-Robinson) who opposed the Hathaway road closure voted against the agreement. The new agreement is a crude attempt to circumvent the earlier decision when FASNY failed in receiving the requisite super-majority approval.
As a further slap in the face of the record the Mayor and the other three Council members agreed to consider doing an about face on two key earlier decisions by the Common Council that:
- the entire former Ridgeway Country Club property was an “Environmentally Sensitive Site”;
- Ridgeway was not to be used as an entrance for FASNY under any circumstances.
In commenting on the recent Mamaroneck Federal court decision the Mayor (of Mamaroneck) said:
“One of the most important things about any municipality is zoning because it determines the character of the Village and that’s what just was reinforced in the decision.”
The Mayor’s words are right on target and are typically the cornerstone of public officials everywhere.
Sadly, Mayor Roach and Council members Martin, Kirkpatrick and Smayda have decided for whatever reason not to proceed with their outside attorney’s very strong defense of the FASNY lawsuit.
The Mamaroneck decision demonstrates that municipalities can and must defend against any development that presents a clear threat to the health, safety and welfare of a community regardless of empty threats of monetary damages.
Shortly, another Public Hearing will be scheduled on the FASNY matter. Please call, write or e-mail our Mayor and elected officials and remind them how Mamaroneck officials acted on behalf of its citizens and that the residents of the south end of White Plains will not succumb to the relentless and aggressive efforts by FASNY to push this unacceptable development upon us.
Best Wishes for the New Year to you and your families.
John E. Sheehan, President