Cappelli Express Highballed. Council Approves Final TowerDesigns

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The Common Council in PicturesThe Common Council approved Frederick Bland’s Beyer Blinder Belle final detailed architectural designs of the Cappelli City Center Towers Monday evening, ending a seven-month drama.

The Council also moved ahead on Fortunoff’s and New York Presbyterian Hospital’s Plan B.

Monday marked Pauline Oliva’s final Common Council meeting, and the introduction of Gina Cuneo as the new Commissioner of Finance.

The Mayor also invited everyone to White Plains first New Year’s Eve Party on, of course, December 31.

PAULINE OLIVA’S LAST COUNCIL MEETING: Mayor Joseph Delfino, calling her “more than a rose, you’re a crown jewel,” presents Councilwoman Pauline Oliva with a dozen long-stemmed roses, in recognition of this being her last Council meeting after eight years of service to the city. Ms. Oliva received a standing ovation at the end of the evening from her colleagues and the citizenry in attendance. Rita Malmud, City Council President, visibly emotionally moved, told Ms. Oliva, “You’ve been that which we aspire to be.” In her remarks, Ms. Oliva thanked all the commissioners for their professionalism over her eight years. WPCNR PHOTO.

NEW COMMISSIONER OF FINANCE IINTRODUCED: Mayor Delfino listens to his new Commissioner of Finance, Gina Cuneo, express her happiness at joining the City of White Plains as new finance wrangler. Ms. Cuneo was most recently the Chief Financial Officer of the Village and Town of Ossining, and prior to that spent many years with the City of Yonkers in a financial role. Austin Davis, formerly in finance with the New York Power Authority joins her as new Deputy Commissioner of Finance.WPCNR PHOTO.

TOWERS OF CAPPELLI ARE ACCEPTED. The new revised Frederick Bland designs of Louis Cappelli’s residential towers were introduced and approved by the Common Council with no opposition whatsoever. The primary difference is that windows have been added to the narrow north-south faces of the structures (a suggestion of Councilman Willidam King) The slant-turret, “Nautilus-style” conning tower affect has been retained at the top. The materials choices were also approved.WPCNR PHOTO.

A SOFTER PROFILE ON THE TOWERS is achieved with windowed facades on the new designs for the North South views was presented by Louis Cappelli and approved Monday evening. Cappelli is now cleared to begin construction on the project. The City Center movie-retail complex is seen to the left, the garage to the right. The view is from Martine Avenue, looking North.WPCNR PHOTO.

A LITTLE BIT OF SOHO COMES TO WHITE PLAINS:Cappelli also introduced design for the loft residential building of 10 stories, (on Martine Avenue), featuring 20- 2,000 square foot units with 12-foot ceilings. The loft building on the South side of Martine Avenue is conceived with a limestone green exterior, complete with ornate seals on the cornices, reminiscent of the ironbound district buildings in SOHO, New York City. William King was particularly taken by this design. All six councilpersons praised the final designs of the towers and the loft building. Benjamin Boykin, Jr., called each tower a “signature” building. Pauline Oliva said “I’m flabbergasted. I think the buildings have turned out so beautiful. Mr. Bland has outdone himself. They are stylish, they look very rich. Thank you for being receptive to our concerns.”She complimented Mr. Cappelli on his “selling” of the project, and his cooperation in listening to the Council.WPCNR PHOTO.

THE COLORS OF CAPPELLI: Louis Cappelli presented these material swatches depicting the colors of the City Center apartments. The crowns of the two towers would be white with perforated metal baffalings. The first setbacks of the towers with the horizontal windows would be of beige and light red brick. The central double-vertical window towers would be in white limestone. The garage facade of red brick (bottom), to blend in with the Martine Avenue residences across the street.WPCNR PHOTO.

In other action last evening, the Common Council approved increasing the Downtown Business Improvement District budget $200,000 to $500,000.

In a consent agenda item, they accepted the New York Presbyterian Hospital Draft Environmental Impact Statement as complete, scheduling a public hearing on it for January 7, 2002.

Fortunoff’s moves

The council approved Fortunoff’s for a Special Permit, authorizing Fortunoff’s to build to a height of 80 feet. William King reported that a Saturday meeting between Fortunoff representatives and Hale Avenue homeowners went well. He said the greater landscaping and larger buffer were positive steps.

It appears from statements by the neighbors at the meeting that they have no objection to Fortunoff’s coming, and hoped the city would involve itself to assure more concessions on Fortunoff’s behalf. However, opposition by the neighbors was definitely scaled down, in this reporter’s analysis.

Over $637,131 in grants were received for the year by the White Plains Youth Bureau. Pauline Oliva complimented Frank Williams, Youth Bureau Director on his ability to write persuasively and effectively in obtaining the grants for the city youth, in announcing three new grants.

Party with the Mayor on New Years Eve: Gala at the City’s Center

The Mayor announced the city would throw its first-ever New Year’s Eve gala bash. It will feature raising a tent on Main Street, a swing band, a buffet dinner, beer, wine and champagne. The Tickets: $75 a person, from 9 PM to 1 AM New Years Eve. Reservations are required. Call the BID,328-5166, for more information, and to make your reservation to party with the Mayor.

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4 White Plains Organizations to Receive Master Card Tech Grants Wednesday.

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Four White Plains organizations have been recognized by MasterCard International for their efforts in improving the educational and technological opportunities for under-served youth and will be awarded the first grants from the MasterCard Youth Education and Technology Fund. The awards will be given Wednesday, December 5 at 10 AM at Master Card Headquarters at 2000 Purchase Street, Purchase.

The organizations are: Cardinal McCloskey Services/ASPRIE Program, New York School for The Deaf/Campus Weather Station, The White Plains Library/Teacher in the Library, and The Street Theater, Inc./A Better Chance.

David Ruth, senior vice president, Global Communications, MasterCard International, will recognize these organizations at the association’s first annual awards presentation for the fund. Westchester County officials, board members and senior executives from the award-winning organizations, as well as representatives from the Westchester Community Foundation and MasterCard’s Review Committee will be in attendance.

Francesca Borges Gordon, director, Public Affairs at MasterCard, will also detail MasterCard’s community outreach program and Youth Education and Technology Fund initiative.

The award recipients were chosen from among 40 proposals, submitted to the Westchester Community Foundation and selected by MasterCard employees. Programs focused on providing direct service to children of diverse backgrounds from kindergarten through high school.

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McLaughlin Searchers Seek Yanofsky Input on Profile. Public Meetings Set.

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UPDATED DECEMBER 8, MEETING DATES RELEASED, ONE CHANGE:Hazard, Young & Attea, the search firm engaged by the White Plains City School District, will interview Dr. Saul Yanofsky for his input on developing a Superintendent of Schools Job Profile in the weeks ahead, Board President Donna McLaughlin reported to WPCNR Friday.

The School Board plans a 5-day over-the-weekend series of public meetings, January 10 to 15 for community direction to be communicated to the Search Consultants.

On Saturday, December 8, WPCNR updated the last public comment meeting date. The School Board changed the Bethel Baptist Church meeting to Wednesday, January 16, from Tuesday January 15. Time remains 7 PM. Other dates remain the same.

Speaking by telephone, Ms. McLaughlin updated WPCNR on the School Board meeting with Hazard, Young & Attia which took place last Tuesday afternoon.

Public to Meet with Hazard Young Consultants Four Times

McLaughlin said the firm and the board set four public meetings at which the search firm consultants, Deborah Raizes and Dr. John Whritner would take the pulse of the White Plains public on their thoughts for a new superintendent

All four meetings will be held in one 5-day marathon from January 10 to 16 (2002), at the following times and locations:

Thursday evening, January 10 at 7:30 PM in the White Plains High School All-Purpose Room.

Friday morning, the next day, January 11 at 10 AM at Education House, Homeside Lane.

Sunday afternoon, January 13, at 12:30 PM at St. Bernard’s Church, Chapel Hall.

Wednesday evening, January 16 at 7 PM at Bethel Baptist Church.NOTE: The School Board has changed this date from originally the 15th the 16th of January.

Ms. McLaughlin said the two consultants would also be meeting with community groups individually to hear public opinion and comment on the needs, qualifications, and concerns of the city as they apply to creating the new Superintendent job profile.

In addition to the community-wide sessions, the search consultants will be meeting with groups of staff members, PTA representatives and others during the first two weeks of January.

Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates will report on their findings based on these profile sessions at a
public meeting of the Board of Education on Tuesday, January 29th at 7:30 P.M. at Education House.

Yanofsky Input Will Be Sought.

Ms. McLaughlin corrected an earlier report she gave WPCNR, saying that Dr. Saul Yanofsky’s input would be sought directly by the Hazard Young Search Team. “I did not realize that they interview the former superintendent as part of their search process,” Ms. McLaughlin said.

Advertising to begin in January.

The Board President outlined the timetable that the board and the consultants have developed at their Tuesday afternoon session.

“We hope to have the superintendent profile completed by the end of January, and begin advertising in Education Week with it at that time,” she said.

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Scarsdale, White Plains Have Fear of Mandatory F.A.R.’s

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Just as White Plains residents have balked at Department of Planning zoning recommendations for its Southend neighborhoods which would limit “MacMansions” and expansions, Scarsdale residents have rallied against its village Floor Area Ratios.
From WPCNR’s affiliate, Scarsdale Today, comes this report filed by Scarsdale beat reporter, Sean Cover:

At the Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 27th, the Scarsdale Neighborhood Association of Presidents (S.N.A.P.) Committee on Bulk Housing submitted a report recommending very substantial changes in the Village’s Floor Area Ratio Cap and Bonus Program proposal which was created to regulate over-sized housing in the community.

Even though the Village revised its proposal on November 11th, S.N.A.P. found the flaws so serious it could not recommend the proposal or the Village’s proposed 90-Day Moratorium on construction.

Scarsdale Today readers will find links to download the S.N.A.P. report on the revised F.A.R. Cap proposal and its October 22nd report on the original proposal. The October 22 report includes a comparison of the FAR ordinance proposed for Scarsdale to the relevant codes of five neighboring communities that employ FAR-type requirements(Eastchester, Tuckahoe, the Village of Mamaroneck, the City of Rye, and Greenwich).

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You Be the Judge Poll: Mr. and Mrs. White Plains What Would You do?

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It’s never happened before in White Plains history: a jammed voting machine has perhaps, and perhaps is the key word prevented Larry Delgado from winning District 18 and reelection. Mr. and Mrs. White Plains, how would you decide what to do? Take the You Be the Judge Poll at the right.

WPCNR’s unique polling system now let’s you, Mr. and Mrs. White Plains weigh the issues just as Judge Francis A. Nicolai will be doing next week when Hockley attorney Adam Bradley and Delgado Counsel, Jeffrey Binder, present their briefs to the Judge Monday afternoon. We’ve listed four possible avenues of decision. Or, you can vote “other,” and explain your solution in a comment or an e-mail.
Your opinion counts, use it!

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Fortunoffs Comes to Talk

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“They listened to what we had to say,” according to William Null, Fortunoff’s attorney, as he and Louis Fortunoff were leaving City Hall Thursday evening, in describing a surprise Executive Session with the Common Council involving the prestigious upscale retailer. The Council has also agreed to vote on the Fortunoff proposal on Decmeber 20.
Prior to the Common Council Work Session before Mr. Null and Mr. Fortunoff arrived, the Council agreed to hold a final vote on the Fortunoff proposal on December 20.

The reasons given for the December 20 vote was to qualify Fortunoff’s for a Westchester County Industrial Development Agency grant for this year for use on the proposed construction of a Fortunoff’s White Plains store.

Fortunoff’s plans to build a 4-story retail center with specialty on-the-street shops and restaurants on the former Saks Fifth Avenue site.

Asked about how Fortunoff’s was dealing with complaints of residents on Hale Avenue about the construction plans, Mr. Null said Fortunoff’s was meeting with the neighbors within the next three days to deal with their concerns prior to the public hearing continuation at next Monday Common Council meeting.

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City’s Hands Tied on Library Parking Protest. County Keeps Libe Lot Closed.

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WPCNR has learned that the County Executive’s office is standing firm on keeping the White Plains Public Library Parking Garage closed to the public, despite a groundswell of local protest lead by County Legislator William Ryan.
Since the World Trade Center attack, the county has closed the garage to public parking with the exception of county employees, and apparently to members of the American Trial Lawyers Association, whose stickers are automatically waived through to park, according to various legal counsel who have spoken to WPCNR.

According to members of the White Plains Public Library Board, Library attendance is down.

Thursday evening, WPCNR learned a Common Council Executive Session was held regarding the White Plains Public Library Parking Garage security. We do not know the details, and efforts to piece together information from city sources attending the meeting were met with stony silence, citing security concerns.

However, WPCNR has learned from sources behind preparation of the materials presented last night that petitions signed by White Plains citizen organizations, including The Old Guard, and the White Plains Beautification Society were delivered to the council, requesting opening of the library garage.

County Legislator William Ryan has expressed his support for opening the garage on a phase-in basis in a news conference earlier this week.

After the news conference WPCNR learned that the County Executive is standing firm on his closure of the library garage as a security measure. County law enforcement officials have confided to reliable WPCNR listening posts that they have received no new specific information or intelligence that has lead to this decision to keep the garage closed to the public.

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Taxi Commission to Review Taxi Rate Increase with Council

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Taxi Commission Chairman, Daniel Hickey reported to WPCNR Thursday that he has reviewed White Plains taxi owners and operators request for a taxi cab rate increase.
Hickey advised the CitizeNetReporter, he has arrived at a what he feels is a reasonable and fair rate hike. He reports it is currently being reviewed by the legal department.

He says he has not discussed the increase with the negotiator for the Taxi cab owners yet and hopes to do that within the next two weeks.

Hickey said it was premature to disclose any details of the plan before it was presented to the Common Council.

Taxi cab drivers and owners are seeking a $1.25 rate increase across all zones of the city, or a combination of $1 fees for exclusive use of a cab, or $1 surcharge on radio-dispatched calls.

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Council Will Release DEIS if Hospital Grants Extended Hearing Window

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The Common Council indicated willingness to accept the New York Presbyterian Hospital Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Plan B under review, as early as their December 3 Common Council meeting Thursday evening under one condition.

Led by Council President Rita Malmud, the council indicated they would do so if New York Presbyterian Hospital put in writing that the pubic hearing on the project would not have to be completed within 45 days. Ms. Malmud pushed for March 4, 2002 as a more suitable timeframe.

A hospital executive, Constance Hildersley, said the hospital would consider “a reasonable extention,” but would not elaborate on what she deemed reasonable. Under the state regulation once the Council announces a DEIS “complete,” it has 45 days to conclude a public hearing on the matter.

The council heard from Michael B. Gerrard, and Nicholas Johnson of Arnold & Porter, the city-commissioned environmental lawyers reviewing the DEIS, that in the lawyers’ opinion the DEIS was in essence complete. Gerrard said he and Johnson had recommended several wording changes and requested the hospital undertake two investigations on two suspected hazardous waste sites.

Toxic Avenger Warning Heeded

Those sites were identified last June on a council tour of the hospital site, and highlighted illegally with yellow tape by the White Plains Toxic Avenger. The White Plains Toxic Avenger is the WPCNR nickname for an unidentified trespasser who snuck onto hospital property and strung yellow crime scene tape around the suspected toxic dumps.

Apparently based on this information, and secret testimony given Arnold & Porter’s Gerrard by the Toxic Avenger himself, these two sites were highlighted in recommendations to the hospital to have excavations conducted to determine whether toxic wastes exist. Gerrard reported Thursday night, the hospital was conducting those soil tests this week and should have the borings completed in time to be included in the DEIS early next week.

No hazardous radioactive waste stored on Loma Linda site

Nicholas Johnson and Mr. Gerrard visited the Loma Linda proton accelerator facility in Loma Linda, California, in person with a nuclear physicist consultant retained for the purposes of reviewing the accelerator facility. The nuclear consultant was Professor Lawrence Jones of the physics department of the University of Michigan. Gerrard reported that they and a New York Presbyterian Hospital representative on “a thorough tour of the facility.”

Gerrard said the three saw all safety records. Nicholas Johnson reported that there was “no hazardous radiative waste stored on the site,” and that the facility generated none. Johnson added that the accelerator emitted radiation at the nozzle. However, he said this radiation had a life of only two weeks and did not exceed that experienced by x-ray technicians.

Malmud concerned about getting adequate public opportunity to comment over holiday period.

Taking the point on the “time-to-review” issue, Council President Rita Malmud expressed concern about the holiday season curtailing the public ability to comment, if the Common Council were required to close the public hearing within 45 days. (Approval of the DEIS as complete on Monday, would put 45 days falling on January 17, 2002.) Ms. Malmud suggested the March 4 Common Council meeting as the ideal date that would allow the public adequate time to comment on the DEIS(91 days).

Councilpersons Boykin and Greer and Delgado agreed that if the hospital were to prove to be flexible on the 45 period, extending it somewhat, they could see approving the DEIS as complete on Monday.

Constance Hildersley, Vice President of Real Estate, for New York Presbyterian Hospital said she felt the hospital could agree to a “reasonable” extension, and would report back to the Council by Monday. Ms. Malmud said she would appreciate confirmation of such an extension in writing.

Hildersley does not comment on extension or private proton accelerator fund-raising

Upon leaving the work session, Ms. Hildersley told WPCNR when asked if the 90 days was agreeable that she wasn’t talking. When asked if fund-raising efforts towards the proton accelerator were underway, she said she was not talking about that, either.

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Judge Nicolai: “The Court Has Identified a Wrong.” Calls for Briefs.

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After review of the Delgado Attorney’s Offer of Proof Thursday afternoon, Judge Francis A. Nicolai of New York State Supreme Court ruled that a statistician’s analysis could not be admitted as evidence. The Judge then ruled that “the court has identified a wrong, and the court must now fashion a remedy.”

Judge Nicolai ordered Adam Bradley and Jeffery Binder, attorneys for Glen Hockley and Larry Delgado respectively, to submit written briefs to the court by Monday afternoon at 5 PM with their suggestions for what kind of remedy should be applied.

Mr. Bradley, after this order, contended at length that if a new election was called for that it should be citywide across all 46 districts between Mr. Hockley and Mr. Delgado. Bradley cited a ruling in a Tarrytown jammed voting machine case where this actually happened. Mr. Binder declined to rebut, closing proceedings for the day by saying “I find my opponent’s argument totally without merit.”

Judge Nicolai said he would be “in touch” with the parties, after their briefs were submitted, to set a date when the case would be resumed.

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