CNA Tours Indian Point: Radiation Cloud Procedures Explained.

WPCNR Daily Mirror. By John F. Bailey. June 13, 2002. 12:00 E.D.T.: Seven members of the White Plains Council of Neighborhood Associations toured the Entergy Indian Point atomic power plant Tuesday, and saw for themselves the security and emergency steps to be taken in the event of a possible terrorist strike at the Buchanan plant.

CNA REPS IN INDIAN POINT EMERGENCY OPS FACILITY: Jim Steets of Entergy demonstrating how the Wind Solar Map with its 10 mile mapping of the area surrounding Indian Point, predicts the direction of any radiation releases. He is shown explaining the operation of the WSM to CNA delegates, L to R, John Vorperian, Riena Kaplow, Ingrid and Carl Barrera Tuesday at Indian Point. Also observing were Joel Rudikoff and Peter Katz.
All Photos by WPCNR.

CNA CO-President Carl Barrera, Joel Rudikoff, Ingrid Barrera, Peter Katz, John Vorperian, and this reporter were escorted into the depths of the Indian Point plant by Entergy spokesman, Jim Steets, Tuesday. We saw the facilities often characterized as vulnerable to terrorist attack by prominent politicians and a threat to the public by environmentalists.
In His Sights.

I was told by Mr. Barrera to enter the complex by a side entrance where we would meet our guide. However, I drove up to the main entrance just to check it out, to be met by concrete barriers and an obvious military presence. I could feel the security personnel’s eyes on my car as I very carefully and slowly turned my Camry around — very carefully.

As I drove down Bleakley Avenue South in the direction of where I thought the side entrance was, I was met by another security vehicle of the National Guard. I had stopped my car to get my bearings on the directions, and the Guardsman riding atop a camouflaged HumVee, locked onto me with his green scope giving me a no-nonsense, once-over. Being in his cross-hairs, gave me a very unnerving feeling.

When Indian Point Checks You In, They Check You In.

In order to go on this tour, I had to be precleared in advance by the Indian Point Communications Office with a series of paper procedures. My name was on the list, which the entrance Guard checked on my visit. An identification procedure was conducted. I was told where to park and exactly where to proceed on the site.
Evacuation Has 10-Hour Lead Time.

Before I could join the CNA group, I was furnished with new credentials, and a second set of identification procedures prepared on the spot so plant security could keep track of me on the site. Only after 45 minutes was I escorted into the Indian Point Emergency Operations Facility situation room. Jim Steets, our guide was looming over the Wind Solar Map, where the 10 miles surrounding Indian Point is rendered on a screen.

WIND SECTOR MAP identifies towns and areas threatened by any airborne radiation leaks. There is an estimated minimum of ten hours leadtime before communities can expect to have any radiation leak reach them, according to Steets.

Steets said, the Wind Solar Map is used to predict what areas might be affected should any “plume of radiation” escape Indian Point’s reactor. The Map uses wind direction and windspeed as a guide, to advise Westchester County Executive Andy Spano of communities the projected path of any radiation drift.

“The facility is staffed with people with a variety of tasks, whose job is to get all the information they can about the status of the plant, the condition of the plant, and the potential for releases,” Steets told me. “We can measure, with great certainty and accuracy exactly what a release would entail. Then we can make a recommendation, which we’ve done in drills, to the county, one or four, or all four counties (Dutchess, Orange, Westchester, Putnam), that there’s a potential for release, potentially in X amount of time, and you ought to evacuate certain areas.”

A Calculated Reaction.

“Then the County Executive can look at it and say, well, actually, we’ve already evacuated those areas, or, thanks for the advice, we’ll take it under advisement. It’s also, really his decision to make. He makes those decisions based on what’s going on at the plant, and what advice he can get from his own experts in a variety of fields, his own health department, his own advisors.”

The impression this reporter received is that, contrary to evacuation plan critics’ portraying miles of jammed highways and panic in the streets, there was no need for a “War of the Worlds” panic evacuation, given the leadtime to analyze any radiation release.

Slow Rate of Drift Means No Rush. No Panic.

Steets said that the wind speed and direction determines how fast any radiation emission, that might be brought about by a leak from the domes from any possible enemy attack. He said the slow speed of radiation cloud drift allows the county a lot of time to mobilize any necessary evacuation in an orderly manner, (“We have capability to evacuate areas”). Any shift in wind direction disperses and deconcentrates any radiation cloud, Steets said, and does not spread it in concentrated form to other areas.

Within 2 miles, Cloud Dissipates.

Steets said that any radiation escape from either dome in the form of radioactive steam, loses its concentration quickly: “The concentration of radiation diminishes so much after two miles, that areas 5 and 7 miles away you don’t have to evacuate.”

Steets said that this conclusion was “based on science.”

Steets added that it was Entergy’s opinion that the Westchester County Evacuation Plan was workable, citing the ten hours of lead time before any release of radiation would spread significantly.

Talking to Anybody.

Leading us out of the Emergency Operations Facility into a conference room, Steets said, “We are meeting with as many people as possible. If this (close Indian Point movement) is rooted in fear, all we can do is tell you where we’re coming from. We’re not afraid of this plant.”

(WPCNR Will Continue “Inside Indian Point”)

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King Komments:Overnight Onstreet Parking; Crosswalks; Commuting.

King Komments By Councilman William King. June 11, 2002.:After a short absence, Councilman William King resumes his timely comments on White Plains issues. Today he comments on the growing clamour for on-street overnight parking.
Noticed in Brooklyn Heights recently where they have weekly street cleaning that cars which can park all day and all night on one side of the street cannot park on that side of the street during a 4-hour period on Tuesdays during the day. This is the only time cars are allowed to park across the street on the other side. This seemed very easy to follow.

Also, re snow removal, what do you think NYC does when it snows? Where are people in the city supposed to park? Answer? The City of NY doesn’t deal with it and they just plow in the traffic lanes, not the parking lanes. People shovel themselves out and the snow eventually melts. That’s life.

What does the WPPA do in its parking lots where people are allowed to park overnight and around the clock? Do people who park there have to clear out so the lot can be completely cleared of snow? If so, where do they go? Does WPPA ticket them and tow them if they don’t move?

I would like to finally finalize a resolution and/or ordinance by the end of this week, well before our work session next Wed. I will look at Bob’s proposed ordinance from the early 90’s. But this is not rocket science – let’s all just think this one through and do it for action/referral at the July meeting.

On Crosswalks

I was just in Salem, Mass. and surrounding towns over the weekend. Salem’s downtown, like those of the surrounding towns, is criss-crossed all over the place with sidewalks painted green which are often also highlighted with signs, like Connecticut’s, that are red, yellow and white and say “Stop for Pedestrians in Crosswalk.”

And people do stop much more often than I see people stopping or even slowing down at our minimally marked (and fading) crosswalks with the small white signs with black lettering that say “Yield to Pedestrians in Crosswalk on your half of road.”

We could at least cross hatch our crosswalks to make them visible, as I have seen done in Baltimore, and maybe add a “splash” of different colors here and there just to be different.

Are you lobbying the state for changing the “state standard” sign which is very ambiguous and not too eye-catching? I hope you are – New York (and White Plains) is way behind neighboring states in this department.

Commuting and Traffic Accident Suggestions

This idea sprung from a short email exchange, I had where one said you might try to go to work using the bus instead of the car at least once a week. Also, I received an email suggesting another idea about reinstituting that Highlands shuttle bus.

And I received a call from Jim Benerofe telling me about an op-ed piece he just put up on his website about there being too much traffic in White Plains.

There have been more and more traffic accidents in White Plains and the recent horrific crash at Main and Mamaroneck was only the most tragic example. Traffic is on a lot of people’s minds a good deal of the time. As traffic never seems to decrease anywhere, it also never subsides from our consciousness.

So let’s at least try to address the issue in a more visible way. Bike Route signs was (or will be, when they actually appear) a start. The MTA and the Westchester Beeline System are both members of a national organization called APTA, the American Public Transit Association, that is pretty lame. They have an annual “Try Transit Week” every year probably around Earth Day that mostly goes un-noticed. Why do it only one week a year?

In White Plains, why not publicize it on streetlight banners and banners across the street on the major thoroughfares leading into town the way Berkeley, California does, with a different message along the same theme with each banner?

The banners could say the following messages, as briefly as possible, “Try the Bus at least once a week,” “Leave the car at home at least once a week,” “Ride a bike to work once a week,” “Help to lower air pollution,” “Help reduce U.S. oil imports,” etc.

Too many events and initiatives are not well enough publicized. Maybe corporate sponsors could pay for the banners – that Metropool guy who spoke at the last Common Council meeting maybe has funding or could make the contacts with the corporations.

Let’s be more progressive about getting people out of their cars and being a national model. Let’s keep doing things to be a more livable community.

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Council Considering Touring Indian Point June 26 Before Drafting Resolution

WPCNR Morning Sun. By John F. Bailey. June 12, 2002. 9:00 A.M. E.D.T. UPDATED June 13, 2002 5 PM E.D.T.: Councilman William King confirmed to WPCNR today that the Mayor and Common Council are arranging to tour the Indian Point 3 Nuclear Plant in Buchanan, tentatively on June 26. Entergy Corporation reported Tuesday that the White Plains Common Council and city officials were in the process of planning a tour of the Entergy Indian Point atomic power plant before taking a political position on Indian Point closure.
Karen Costable, of the Mayor’s Office, is in the process of arranging the tour, according to Mr. King.

James Steets, Director of Communications for Entergy, told WPCNR Tuesday that city officials and members of the Common Council had expressed interest in accepting Entergy’s invitation to review Entergy operations, safety and emergency procedures and evacuation plan prior to drafting a Common Council resolution taking a position vis-a-vis the continued operation of the atomic energy facility.

Steets said he had approached the Mayor and Common Council members, inviting them to tour the Buchanan facility when he heard the Council was about to draft a resolution taking a position on the plant.

Steets told WPCNR Council members had expressed interest in taking a fact-finding tour prior to drafting the resolution. He said the Mayor’s office was trying to organize the excursion within the next two weeks.

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Council to Create Overnight On-Street Parking Zone in Highlands.

WPCNR Morning Sun. By John F. Bailey. June 12, 2002. 9:00 A.M. E.D.T. Common Council President Benjamin Boykin said Monday that the Common Council will be discussing lifting the ban on overnight street parking for the Highlands area along Old Mamaroneck Road.

Boykin said the details would be discussed in an upcoming Council work session.

Councilman Boykin told WPCNR Monday evening that details of how residents could qualify for overnight street parking had to be worked out, but that at the present time, the lifting of the traditional restrictions on overnight street parking was only being considered for the Old Mamaroneck Road area, but did not provide details. The northern sections of Old Mamaroneck Road have considerable apartment density.

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Gerard Talks III: NYPH Needs 10 Bldgs Instead of 2 to Build in Hist. Distr.

WPCNR Common Council Chronicle-Examiner. By John F. Bailey. June 11, 2002. 12:02 A.M. E.D.T.: Susan Habel, Commissioner of Planning, put on her master builder’s hat Monday evening and presented her concept of how New York Presbyterian Hospital could fit their planned biotech/proton accelerator complex into buildable areas in the historic district of their property.

SUSAN HABEL TO THE RESCUE: The Commissioner of Planning presents a plan that would fit new buildings into the historic districts on the New York Presbyterian Hospital property, at the third session of “The Gerard Talks” at City Hall Monday evening.
All Photos by WPCNR

This exercise was requested by Councilmembers Benjamin Boykin, Rita Malmud, Glen Hockley, and Tom Roach last Thursday.

The Hospital, to fit an equivalent amount of square footage into the historic district, would have to build 10 buildings instead of two. Michael Gerard said this violated the spirit of “practicable” environmental solutions.

Ms. Habel made the presentation at the third session of “The Gerard Talks,” the sessions scheduled by the Common Council with their environmental lawyer, Michael Gerard, to discuss legal issues involved in their acceptance of the NYPH Final Environmental Impact Statement.

The meeting adjourned to yet another Executive Session at 8:15 PM last night, where they were expected to ask for a one-week extension to accept and prepare their Acceptance of the Final Environmental Impact Statement until June 24. According to the SEQRA regulations, the Council must accept the FEIS by June 17, six days from now.

Habel Presents Her Own Site Plan for Historic District.

In a meeting where Michael Gerard had very little to say, Ms. Habel did most of the talking, showing the building footprints that could be accommodated under the exacting restrictions dictated by the State Historical Preservation Office.

The bottom line, according to Ms. Habel, who along with her Deputy Commissioner, Rod Johnson, and the Planning Department prepared a hypothetical Historic District Building Plan requested by the Council, over the last two working days, requires the hospital to build 10 buildings instead of two.

Gerard Advises Habel Plan Fails the “Practicality Test.”

Gerard after digesting Habel’s one-hour presentation, said that at the heart of the spirit of complying with the SEQRA statute was to form a mitigating course of action that was “practicable,” for the applicant, rather than dictating steps that were “physically possible”

His statement was meet with a very quiet silence by the council.

Gerard Dismisses Conservation Board Concern on Contiminating Water with Soil Runoff.

Mr. Gerard was asked by Councilman Glen Hockley about the Conservation Board letter worrying about possible contimination of Cassaway Brook with soil runoff, due to a reported high amount of mercury in the soil samples on Site 6.

Gerard dismissed this as not a problem as long as no construction was undertaken on site 6. He also pointed that the contiminant concentration in the soils were less than normal drinking water, and the mercury level was .1 above the level allowed for drinking water. Ms. Habel advised the Conservation Board got their letter in too late to be included in the original draft Final Environmental Impact Statement.
Mayor Delfino said, “Don’t believe everything you read in the papers (to Mr. Hockley), listen to him (Gerard), he’s getting the big bucks.”

Hockley Concerned About Solid Waste.

Mr. Hockley said he wanted to know how many more trucks and trips to transport solid waste out of the facilities would add to the impact of the site. Ms. Habel said this was addressed in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Boykin, Hockley Both Await Further Clarification on Research Being Conducted at Other Hospital Sites.

Ms. Habel stated that she was awaiting information from Cornell, Mount Sinai Hospital and NYU campuses on the nature of Safety Level 3 biotech research they were now working on. At this point, she said, she has heard from NYU that they were working with Turburculosis, their only Level 3 research on only 300 square feet. New York Presbyterian Hospital, she said, was working with only “a small amount of Level 3 research within their system and was going to get back with specifics, that it was not a major problem element.”

She said the hospital was doing a small amount of AIDS research, which she said was a Safety Level 2 concern, since it was not spread by inhaling. She expected more information on the kinds of research within the NYPH system by the end of the week.

More Time Needed.

Ms. Habel said that the Plannind Department needed approximately one week more beyond June 17 to marshall the material for the Acceptance of the FEIS.

The Council adjourned to Executive Session to consult with Mr. Gerard about the feasibility of extending the June 17 deadline.

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New Sheriff In Town: Mayor Offers Public Safety Job to Outsider.

WPCNR Evening City Star. By John F. Bailey. June 10, 2002. 11:45 PM E.D.T.: The search for a new Commissioner of Public Safety could be ended shortly as tomorrow. The Mayor’s Office announced this evening that a decision has been made, and the job of running White Plains Police and Fire Departments has been offered to a man outside the departments, at direction of the Common Council.
George Gretsas reported Monday evening that Mayor Joseph Delfino has offered the Public Safety Commissioner’s job to a candidate with “a public safety background with broad experience in law enforcement, with he unique aspect to his background. He is a certified firefighter.”

Common Council Demanded a Person Outside the Department.

Mr. Gretsas said the candidate has been offered the position by Mayor Delfino, and the city is awaiting the person’s acceptance of the position, prior to announcing who he is. Gretsas would not revealwhat part of the country or area he is from.

Gretsas said the Mayor followed the wishes of the Common Council that the position not be filled by one of the three members of the police department who applied for the position.

Acting Commissioner of Public Safety, Daniel Hickey, Captain Peter Viviano, and Police Chief James Bradley had all applied for the position. Gretsas reported that the three internal candidates had been informed the job was being offered to someone else.

“A fresh look” Needed: Boykin

WPCNR asked Common Council President, Benjamin Boykin, why the Common Council would want to bring in someone new to head the Public Safety Department who was unfamiliar with with the department. Boykin said the council felt he would bring “a fresh look” to the department, but would not elaborate on what that was.

Mayor Would Have Filled Job from Within.

Privately, WPCNR has been told that Mr. Hickey, Mr. Viviano, and Mr. Bradley never really had a chance at the job, because the Common Council had told the Mayor they would not give him the votes.

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School District Nears Selection of High School Principal

WPCNR Evening City Star. By John F. Bailey. June 10, 2002. 11:15 PM E.D.T.:Dr. Linda Ochser, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources for the White Plains City School District, reported to WPCNR Monday evening that the district was near to selecting a new principal for White Plains High School.
In comments made exclusively to WPCNR at the Board of Education meeting, Dr. Ochser, said the district had a “very successful site visit” Friday of last week, and had narrowed the search to one candidate. She said, she expected to make a decision “one way or another” by July 1.

Though she could not reveal the male finalist, she said he was from the immediate tri-state area, not from Westchester County.

Donna McLaughlin, President of the Board of Education, told WPCNR that Timothy Connors the new Superintendent-Select of the City School District had had meetings and been involved with selecting the finalist for the Principal position.

She also said Connors had been in meetings with Dr. Saul Yanofsky, outgoing Superintendent, preparing to assume his new position in mid-July, and, in fact, had even read to students at George Washington School recently.

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WPCNR Westchester County Clarion-Eagle, From WC Department of Communications and John F. Bailey. June 10, 2002. 11:15 E.D.T. UPDATED 4:30 PM E.D.T>: Five leading developers who submitted “excellent” preliminary proposals will now vie to design and build Westchester’s new medical research park on a 60-acre site at Grasslands, according to an official announcement. The finalist is expected to be announced this fall.

Ms. Lyn Bedell, spokesperson for the Westchester County Department of Communications, told WPCNR, it was premature to consider the nature of the research which would be conducted by future tenants. She said, “we’re not into specifics (of research) at this time. We’re primarily looking at proposals and the design of the buildings.”

Ms. Bedell said the county would lease the Grasslands property to the selected developer, and said she would check for WPCNR to see if the County planned to set limits on what kinds of research could be conducted by tenants of the developer selected.

Bedell told WPCNR Monday afternoon, that there were no plans at this time for the county to stipulate what kinds of research would be acceptable at the proposed facility. She said she assumed the county would “not permit anything dangerous.” She did not rule out the county forumulating guidelines as to “acceptable research” once the developer is selected.

The American Health Foundation is currently planning to be a major tenant at the proposed Grasslands facility, she said.

The American Health Foundation specializes in cancer research and preventive medicine, according to their website,

Formal Proposals Coming Up.

Each of the firms or partnerships, who already submitted their qualifications and made some preliminary suggestions, will soon be invited to prepare formal proposals detailing exactly how they would develop the property. The proposals will be reviewed by an ad-hoc committee organized by the Westchester County Office of Economic Development and a final developer should be selected by September.

Spano Enthusiastic About Westchester Appeal for Biotech Development.

“This project has generated an amazing amount of enthusiasm,” said County Executive Andy Spano. “When we set out to see who was interested, we were hoping to come up with two or three qualified firms or development teams. The fact that we ended up with five – all of whom submitted excellent proposals – says a lot about the potential of this project.”

Westchester County is working with the Westchester Medical Center, New York Medical College and New York State Empire State Development to develop up to 1 million square feet of lab and incubator space on a county-owned site next to the hospital in Valhalla. The plan is to attract well established companies as anchor tenants, as well as small and start-up medical and biotechnology firms.

Financial Arrangements in the Millions Being Suggested: Carrera

Salvatore J. Carrera, head of the county’s Office of Economic Development/Real Estate, said the developers have already made a number of suggestions and indicated what type of business arrangement the county might be able to work out. The complex would generate millions of dollars in income for the county as well as hundreds of new jobs.

“The developers gave us more information than we asked for,” Carrera said. “Some provided additional information about the financial viability of the site – which was encouraging. They also addressed prospective ground rents and the actual development of the property, which would come into play when they submit formal proposals.”

Designs Suggest Cluster Buildings

So far ideas range from a campus environment with clusters of 20,000-square-foot buildings connected by atriums and common areas to a core lab facility surrounded by satellite support offices. One noted that the buildings would certainly include amenities such as fitness rooms, teleconference centers and auditoriums equipped with the latest technology.

Thumbnail Profiles of Biotech Developers:

Tishman Urban Development Corporation of New York City, an affiliate of Tishman Realty & Construction Co., which developed E Walk, a large retail/entertainment center on 42nd Street in Manhattan, and oversaw the restoration of the New Amsterdam Theatre.

Mack-Cali Realty Corporation, headquartered in Cranford, NJ. One of the nation’s leading real estate investment trusts, Mack-Cali owns and manages over 28 million square feet of office properties, primarily in the Northeast. The firm is currently developing several business parks.

Lyme Properties & MetroNexus , of Boston and New York City. These development partners have designed and developed biotechnology and medical research facilities for clients such as Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Merck, Pfizer and Vertex. Principals of MetroNexus, a real development company, developed, managed and financed over $3 billion in development in the U.S., including AvalonBay Communities in New Rochelle, Bronxville and Mamaroneck.

LCOR and HRH Construction. The New York City-based LCOR is the owner/operator of the Landmark at Eastview, one of the largest multi-tenanted science parks in the county, and is now constructing Bank Street Commons in White Plains. HRH served as construction manager for several Memorial Sloan Kettering research laboratories as well as the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Reckson Associates, a real estate investment trust which owns over 200 properties in the tri-state area (35 in Westchester and Fairfield counties). Reckson built research and development space for Grumman and other blue chip defense and technology companies, and is currently constructing a 39-acre business park next to MacArthur Airport on Long Island.

Centerpiece of County Executive’s development Plan

The research park is a key component in Spano’s economic development efforts, which include strengthening and expanding the biotechnology and research sector. With about 8,000 employees, Westchester already has the state’s largest concentration of biotech and pharmaceutical workers. The research park site is conveniently located within a nucleus of biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms and close to New York Medical College and the American Health Foundation, as well as the medical center.

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WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. From Michelle Schoenfeld. June 10, 2002, 11:00 AM E.D.T.: White Plains Middle and High Schools were accepted a Gilder Lehrman Schools, affording the district access to resources of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American
History, enabling five District Teachers to study this summer.
Among the resources to member districts are summer institutes for teachers, and five White Plains High School Social Studies teachers have been accepted for summer study this year.

Susan Altman and Richard Dillon will attend an institute at Oxford
University on “Looking at America from the Outside – the View from Britain.”

Arlene Garcia and Dennis O’Brien will attend Yale University, to study the Cold War.

Susan Brumer will attend Columbia University’s institute
on “New York in the 20th Century – the Transformation of the American
Metropolis.” Each receives tuition, room board, books and a stipend for the weeklong institute.

Founded in 1994 by businessmen and philanthropists Richard Gilder
and Lewis E. Lehrman, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting and promoting interest in the history of the United States.

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Council Bids NYPH Define Research Exactly, Put Facility in Historical District.

WPCNR Common Council Chronicle-Examiner. By John F. Bailey. June 6, 2002. 4:00 PM E.D.T. Benjamin Boykin, Common Council President, and Councilpersons Glen Hockley and Rita Malmud are demanding much more information on the nature of the biomedical research laboratories New York Presbyterian Hospital is planning for their White Plains campus. Ms. Malmud and Mr. Boykin made it clear they did not see why the research and proton accelerator facilities couldn’t be located on the oval within the historic district.

COUNCILPERSON RITA MALMUD CONSIDERS THE IMPOSING DRAFT FEIS, at Wednesday’s council work session. The document is 171 pages in length, with 10 Appendices.
All Photos by WPCNR

The councilpersons articulated their positions in the opening night of a work session with their environmental lawyer, Michael Gerard, to formulate their Lead Agency Response to the hospital proposal as part of the FEIS. The Council session on the FEIS continues this evening at 6:30 PM at City Hall. The FEIS is due for filing by June 17.

The session got underway at 7 PM, with the Mayor, Mr. Boykin, Mr. Hockley, Robert Greer, Ms. Malmud present and Councilman William King absent, and the city’s environmental consultant, Michael Gerard of Arnold & Porter on board to advise the council. An entourage of New York Presbyterian Hospital personalities, and Concerned Citizens for Open Space were also present After two hours of discussion, the council adjourned to Executive Session for an hour, emerging at 10:15 PM.

LEGAL PERSONALITY MICHAEL GERARD, well-known environmental law expert offered opinions on council strategies in considering the FEIS. His salient points made to the council were that approval of location of the new buildings on the hospital oval in the historic district depended on whether alternatives to placement on the oval (such as Sites 5 and 8) would not suffer severe impact from locating the facilities there instead of the oval.

At the outset, Mayor Joseph Delfino suggested they would take up the issues of Hospital use, the location of the proposed facilities on the oval, and the safety issue, which was agreeable to the council.

Boykin Troubled By Lack of Specifics on Nature of Research.

Benjamin Boykin, Jr., Common Council President, said the location of the project could not really be considered until it had been decided “this is an appropriate project for White Plains.” Boykin made it clear the hospital description of what was going on in the New York Presbyterian Hospital “system” (all of its campuses from Columbia to Cornell), did not answer the key question of what specific research was being targeted on the White Plains campus.

Gerard pointed out, “(the research) has to be related to this system. There has to be some kind of nexus between what’s going on there (in the hospital system), and the hospital in White Plains.”

BOYKIN CALLS FOR MORE SPECIFICS AND MOVING ALL CONSTRUCTION TO THE OVAL HISTORIC DISTRICT: Benjamin Boykin was deeply concerned about the nature of research going into the New York Presbyterian Hospital biomedical facility, as related to medical waste volume, as well as dangerous microbes.

Boykin responded to Gerard, by saying, that, in regard to echoing research done on other campuses “I’m not so sure it’s (research being done in the hospital system on other campus) an ancillary use.”

“I want to know who you are doing things with, and who you are going to do things with. The document points out clearly they don’t (know).”

Boykin, appearing to echo an argument used by Thomas Whyatt, the Concerned Citizens for Open Space attorney Monday evening at the Common Council, said that if the nature of the research was with an eye to profit, commercial research, with commercial partners, “then we’re not talking about a special permit, but a zoning change.”

Rita Malmud pointed out the council should consider citing the safety level of research which could be conducted on the site, eliminating dangerous virus research, for example.

Malmud agreed with Mr. Boykin on the sketchy description of the research: “It’s not clear to me it’s been established this (research) will not have commercial applications…So little, if any information has been given to us about who’s going into this space.”

Historic Sites Coordinator The Boss on Locating on the Historic District

Messrs. Boykin and Ms. Malmud expressed an interest about moving the facilities within the hospital oval, the sacrosanct “historic district” of the property.

The Council received a letter Wednesday evening sent to Roderick Johnson, the City’s Environmental Officer, from Julian Adams, the Senior Historic Sites Restoration Coordinator, describing the process and possibility of locating the new buildings within the historic district.

The letter was prompted, said George Gretsas, the Mayor’s Executive Officer, by a request of the council to explore the possibilities of the State Historic Preservation agency of allowing the complex on the oval.

COUNCILMAN ROACH AND GERARD DEFER ON POSSIBILITIES OF UNDESIGNATING THE HISTORIC DISTRICT: Councilman Roach at right and Michael Gerard at head of counciltable on left, talk about feasibility of the state allowing construction on the oval.

The letter repeated its comments made on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, saying locating the new facilities within the historic district would have “significant adverse impacts on historic resources that would occur if the proposed project or its research component were to be located within the historic district….” And that, “its landscaping, the locations and scale of the buildings, their relationship to each other and the landscape would be irreparably altered and its overall historic character and value would be lessened.”

Possible Delay in State Funding?

More to the point, Mr. Adams, in effect, says that any building within the historic oval has to be approved by his agency, before any other agency can fund the biomedical and proton accelerator projects if they are sited within the historic district.

He writes, “It is important to note that consultation with our office under the State Historic Preservation Act is a requirement before state agencies can fund, license, or permit any undertakings that may impact historic resources. Our role in this process is more than simply offering a “finding”. The agency must show that consultation was successfully completed by way of either a letter or agreement document.”

The letter also states that “there would still be the obligation (by the city,hospital), to consider the historic resources in question under the provisions of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and to avoid or mitigate adverse impacts on historic resources.”

Mr. Roach noted that the “mitigate” word would be an avenue where the buildings might be located on the historic district, saying that this ambiguity “created a hole big enough to drive a bus through.”

Gerard disagreed, saying, “I don’t think you can drive a bus through it. This statute (the State Historic Preservation Act) is stronger than SEQRA.”

Boykin Notes Square Footage could be fitted on the Historical Oval.

After Susan Habel noted the square footage available on sites within the oval, Councilman Boykin noted that the hospital could almost fit the square footage they require (384,000 square feet) onto three sites in the oval.

He wanted to know what steps the hospital has taken to resize the project to fit in the historic district. Boykin noted that, based on Habel’s information, 178,000 square feet could be fitted on Site 3, 102,000 on Site 4, and 82,000 on Site 5…just 20,000 square feet less than the proposed buildings, all could be fitted within the historical district.

Mr. Gerard explained it was not as easy as just fitting the buildings to the historic site. He noted that the city and hospital would have to make a case that locating the biomedical facility and proton accelerator on the alternate sites 5 & 8 was more adverse to the environment than locating them on the oval would be.

Rita Malmud feels pressured.

Ms. Malmud was asked by the Mayor for her comments on why siting the projects on Sites 5 & 8 was objectionable. Ms. Malmud said, “312 trees.” When the Mayor asked her to elaborate, she said she did not agree with the city staff findings in the FEIS, but wanted to reserve her comments for Executive Session, saying,
“I’d rather wait, because the hospital lawyers are here, hanging on every word, so they can use our words against us and sue us.”

The Mayor expressed sorrow, at that remark, saying, “Rita…Rita…”

Glen Hockley expressed the hope that all parties would sit down and talk this out.
Shortly thereafter Executive Session was begun and reporters were escorted from Mayor’s Office, though Mr. Hockley was inadvertently locked out of the Executive Session.

Mr. Gretsas said the legal rationale for the Executive Session was “attorney-client privilege.”

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