WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. From White Plains Neighbors Act. January 31, 2017:
Dear Mayor Roach and Members of the Common Council,
As members of White Plains Neighbors ACT, many of us living in or around the failed Ridgeway Golf Course, we feel compelled to respond to the continued negative campaign and outright lies against the School and Park, as evidenced by the recent letters to the Council by the Gedney Association and their followers.
Their latest ridiculous claim is that an open sewer ditch on the other side of Ridgeway – not even on FASNY property – would make FASNY’s reduced alternative plan a designated environmentally sensitive site, thus requiring a supermajority vote. This is truly a desperate, “last-ditch” effort to stop the creation of the School and Park.
If sewer ditches indicated environmentally sensitive sites, the entire City would be declared an environmentally sensitive site. This makes no sense.
It is important to note that the Gedney Association speaks for a limited number of the thousands of White Plains residents who live in this area. The majority of our community, and the City at large, strongly believe that the Common Council, as they did in supporting the Settlement Stipulation for a reduced School, should put this matter to rest, and approve the current plan to build the School.
The reduced plan will only build on 29 acres of the former 130 acre former Ridgeway Site, as well as include a 51 acre publicly accessible nature park at no cost to the City. We think this would be an incredible asset for our City – as do our thousand plus supporters.
The White Plains Planning Board, Design Review Board, and Transportation Commission all reviewed the revised, reduced scale project and all three agencies unanimously recommend approval by the Common Council.
If the Gedney Association’s ridiculous ditch argument were entertained, it would return this matter to the Courts and destroy the settlement agreement and recommence the expensive litigation.
The City already voted 6-1 in its prior SEQRA Findings, and other public documents produced during the prior SEQRA review, that there were “no sensitive environmental features or their established buffer areas” on Parcel A of the FASNY site.
Nothing has changed on or off the FASNY site, except that their project is smaller with lessened impacts. If the City backtracks now on its prior determination, it would open the City and its taxpayers to enormous legal liabilities and damage claims.
More importantly, the City’s own records label this feature, again not even on FASNY’s property, as an open drainage “ditch.” A copy of the City’s own map is attached. This ditch runs under the Ridgeway Golf Course in City storm sewer pipes, crosses under Ridgeway, opens for 60 feet or so on the Westchester Hills Golf property, and discharges back into underground storm sewer pipes on Westchester Hills.
Everyone agrees that it carries mostly storm-water from the City streets. It is not a “river, stream or brook” or other similar “flowing water course,” which were meant to be protected in the City’s environmental statutes. This whole topic is ridiculous and is another example of the Gedney Association’s “war of attrition” against this School.
Finally, we are aware that the City regularly does not apply these provisions where roadways separate the various parcels such as Ridgeway in this case.
This latest claim by the Gedney Association is not about protecting the environment. This is about the battle by a few to kill the School and Park, keep WPHS foot traffic out of their neighborhood, and continue this losing litigation, which has already cost the City’s taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Gedney Association’s lawsuits and motions continue to strike out – they are 0 for 3 in the Courts. When will the insanity stop?
We also want to note that Neighbors ACT supporters include a significant number of us in the Gedney area who do not agree with the intransigent nature of the Gedney Association leadership. These ACT Gedney residents favor the FASNY project and feel that the Gedney Association does not represent us or our views.
We trust that the Common Council will see through this absurd “last ditch” effort by the Gedney Association – as the rest of your taxpayers do – and vote to end this unfortunate stain on the City’s reputation and Budget. To backtrack on your own Environmental Findings and convert this property to an Environmentally Sensitive Site, when lawyers in ACT tell us at best that it is probably a question of ambiguous statutory language, is to invite continued and more intense litigation at taxpayer expense as we enter the upcoming election cycle.
The White Plains Neighbors ACT Communications Team