Tuesday evening, beginning at 8:00 PM, (previous edition reported a 7:30 start time), the Common Council will decide high impact matters affecting the city for decades: the City Center, zoning in the city core, restricted development in the neighborhoods, and whether or not to adapt an aggressive city environmental policy created by the Mayor with community groups.
The regular September Common Council meeting will be the first of the 21st century operating under a mandatory midnight curfew in place. Previously, WPCNR had been told the meeting would start at 7:30 PM, but The Mayor’s Office has confirmed that the normal 8 PM start is still in place.
Meetings, if still going on at midnight, will automatically “rollover” to continue on Wednesday evening (or Thursday evening at 7:30 PM.) As of this morning there was no agreement on exactly what date the meeting would continue on. The Mayor’s Office reported Friday that the Common Council has a “hand-shake” agreement to abide by the new curfew rule.
Greer, Mayor Clash on Speaker Time Limits.
Despite heavy pressure from Robert Greer at a work session where the marathon August 6 Common Council meeting lasting 7 hours, 40 minutes, was discussed, the Mayor refused to enforce any time limits on speakers. He said that people had a right to speak. Greer was unhappy with the Mayor’s position on time limits, saying the Mayor had the tools at his disposal to limit speakers. (The City Charter states speakers should be limited to 5 minutes.) Greer strongly suggested that speakers be limited to 5 minutes only. However, the rest of the Common Council in attendance, was silent on the 5-minute time limit. All were in agreement to the new 4-1/2 hour time limit on future council meetings with continuation to next available night.
Time Limit to be Tested Tuesday evening.
Tuesday evening will be a solid test of the midnight cutoff because it will be the night resuming three controversial public hearings and three resolutions on the Mayor’s Environmental Protection Initiative.
The Louis Cappelli City Center where the “Twin Towers of Cappelli” are planned will face its first test before the Common Council. As that public hearing resumes, the Council will decide on whether to permit a maximum height for residential buildings of 350 feet for development sites of “lots” greater than 200,000 square feet on the Cappelli site. If they approve this, they will schedule one more hearing on the City Center project for September 20, when they are scheduled to vote the Special Permit, and the financing for the project. If they refuse to approve the 34-story height, the City Center project may be dead in the water.
28 story apartments with 25 foot setbacks along Mamaroneck Avenue to be considered.
The council will also reopen the hearing on zoning changes proposed for the critical Main Street, down Mamaroneck Avenue to Post Road downtown. This hearing will consider amending the permitted height of residential buildings in the White Plains Downtown area to 280 feet, if they are set back 25 feet above the first floor retail.
The third “biggie” is a resumed hearing on residential zoning changes in the outlying residential neighborhoods, which was held over from the August meeting due to concern about what affect the new Floor Area Ratios proposed by the Planning Department would have on existing nonconforming homes. Commissioner of Planning Michael Graessle told WPCNR in August that the Planning Department has been looking at the ramifications of this issue and we expect some clarification of this issue Tuesday evening.
Environmental Protection Initiative Policy, Open Space Acquisition and D’Elia property deal at mercy of the Common Council
The council will be asked to approve a resolution formally establishing the Open Space Acquisition Advisory Committee and establishing a $5 million acquisition funding mechanism tapping pension funds with ample reserves.
As part of the Environmental Protection Initiative parlay, the council will be asked to pass a resolution approving acquisition of the D’Elia property for $1.75 million, and agreeing to bond for the money.
This deal came under fire last week by Councilpersons Robert Greer, Rita Malmud, William King (a member of the Open Space Acquisition Advisory Committee), and Benjamin Boykin II, because the Councilpersons wanted the Mayor to ask the county to defray the expense of the property with an Open Space contribution. Greer and his four fellow councilpersons asked Andy Spano for aid in a letter Wednesday afternoon, despite the Mayor’s assurance to them last Tuesday afternoon that he had a scheduled meeting with Spano to discuss financial aid.
The Mayor made clear to the Capital Projects Board, he intended to seek county, state and federal aid for this acquisition, but in order for the city to meet the New York Trust for Public Land 90-day deadline the Council needed to approve going to contract for the land with Arnold Orlando, the contractor who has agreed to sell the D’Elia property. It remains to be seen whether the Council will approve the resolution to acquire the property, pending possible aid in the future, or turn it down outright.
In other matters, the council is scheduled to set in motion a lowering of the tax delinquency interest charge from 25% to 12%.
They will consider granting Kelly’s Pub and Grill and Thirsty Turtle establishments a Special Permit for an outdoor dining area.
They will hold a public hearing permitting six-story apartments on behalf of former Councilman Bill Brown’s proposed senior housing apartments on South Kensico Avenue.
The complete agenda may be viewed onThe City of White Plains website