WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. AUGUST 4, 2015:
Marie and Ron Rhodes of the Gedney Farms neighborhood have been following the city review of The French American School of New York plan to build a campus on the former Ridgeway Country Club. The Rhodes have sent a letter to the Mayor and Common Council commenting on the lengthy Resolution that will be voted on tomorrow evening at 7 P.M. The Rhodes have these comments after reviewing the resolution final form. Here is their letter:
Dear Mayor and Common Council,
Voting “no” on FASNY is the right thing to do as it protects WP School Children from FASNY’s massive Traffic. . .and safeguards the citizens and neighborhoods in the Southend.
Let’s review FASNY’s history in White Plains. We all know the importance of location, location, location. . .and FASNY’s purchase of property in a residential area was wrong from the start. And without an experienced Developer-in-charge, such as a Cappelli, FASNY’s lawyers and consultants were left to make all the strategic and day-to-day decisions. Not enough upfront due diligence was ever done which resulted in FASNY constantly changing their plan details. . .compounded by their SEQR and Site Plan submissions not being completely accurate and forthcoming. . .with the end result leaving the FASNY Project with many negatives that have no solutions.
The bottom line is. . .after all FASNY’s plan changes we are still left with a “poor” plan that is not the right fit for the City and the citizens you serve. Councilwoman Hunt-Robinson best described all of FASNY’s failed attempts at changes and mitigation. . .as trying to fit “a round peg in a square hole”.
We ask Council members to reject FASNY and also ask for your protection against these FASNY negatives. . .
√ protect WP School Children where minority students are the majority. . .who walk, bike and travel by bus to school and will be most negatively impacted by FASNY’s massive Traffic increases and the flawed North Street Entrance. Our WP Board of Education raised these safety concerns. . .yet FASNY never responded with any mitigation to reduce the Traffic safety risks to our school children. It’s ironic and unfortunate that while FASNY in trying to help their own school students. . .FASNY actually will be hurting our own WP school children.
√ protect residents and neighborhoods from FASNY Traffic. . .FASNY ‘s Traffic has been characterized by some fuzzy math. . .as FASNY has never disclosed their daily Total Vehicle Trip numbers. . .which we think could be more than 2,000 per day. And never explained how their 530 number is calculated or where the 530 number came from. . .and in the recent Agenda Packet FASNY’s 950 student Cap is being removed before Phase I Construction is even finished. Our own figures show that at the 950 student level. . .FASNY will exceed both their own Phase I and Phase II Caps using their own 530 benchmark. While FASNY’s removal of their 950 Cap in the recent Agenda Packet is not right. . .it also is an abandonment of the SEQR Findings restrictions of December 19, 2013. And shows that FASNY is not really serious about permanent mitigation to protect WP citizens. If the intersections of North Street at Bryant and at Ridgeway as well as the intersections of Mamaroneck Avenue at Ridgeway, Heatherbloom and Bryant already account for some of the highest Traffic accident totals. . .won’t these totals go up when you add all of FASNY’s additional cars and buses?
√ protect Hathaway Lane from Closure. . .from an outside private developer who wants to take over a well-traveled City street without offering any benefits to the Public. This Closure is not mitigation as the City’s June 29th Agenda Packet claims. . .as the Closure hurts the residents of the Southend by making FASNY Traffic more risky, reduces emergency response times to resident homes and reduces nearby residential property values. Only the private developer FASNY benefits from this Closure. And wouldn’t closing Hathaway Lane allow FASNY to add unapprovable Accessory Uses in Parcel D to get around the Special Permit process altogether?
√ protect our Neighborhoods from FASNY’s 10-year Construction. . .which will bring Noise, Pollution and Construction Vehicles. . .while damaging the Health, Safety and Welfare of residents. Did anyone on the City Staff ever inform the outside developer FASNY that 10 years of Construction on 53 acres of current Open Space grassland is not right for a residential area. . .particularly when this extended length is due to FASNY’s own Money deficiencies? FASNY’s temporary attempt at mitigation to reduce their student population down to 950 was always confusing to us. . .since FASNY’s Construction is for square foot facilities for 1,200 or more students. . .when FASNY doesn’t even have the Money on-hand to fund Construction. FASNY apparently has plans for significantly more students than the 950 they were limited to in the SEQR Findings Report. . .and these internal undisclosed student growth plans may be a violation of SEQR. If FASNY is allowed to build foundations that disrupt underground streams and construct their 53-acre campus over Open Space grassland that currently absorbs rainwater. . .will FASNY be providing insurance and guarantees for neighborhood homes that will be in danger from water damage? We ask Council members to keep in mind that for senior citizens like ourselves FASNY’s prolonged Construction in our neighborhood may be permanent hardship and suffering for the rest of our lives.
√ protect our Neighborhoods from FASNY’s Lack of Money. . .and the possibility of FASNY leaving their project in the middle of a residential neighborhood partially unfinished. FASNY has never demonstrated that they have the necessary Money-on-hand or locked-in financing guarantees to complete their planned Construction. SEQR certainly allows discussion about funding resources. . .yet FASNY has never provided the necessary funding evidence.
√ protect our current Zoning and Rule of Law. . . FASNY’s regional school campus is not allowed by our Comprehensive Plan, Special Permit regulations, current R1-30 Zoning and other WP laws as written. . .and is not in harmony with the single-family home Character of the neighborhood. . .while compromising the Health, Safety and Welfare of the community. The old existing Restricted Covenant was put in place back in the 1920’s to protect both the integrity of the golf course and surrounding residential homes in this original WP planned community. . .and FASNY not mentioning the existence of this original deed restriction is probably a violation of SEQR regulations. And why didn’t FASNY prepare Supplemental Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for the Closure of Hathaway Lane, the North Street Entrance and the Conservancy as required by SEQR? Circumventing Zoning, Special Permit and other regulations is not to be taken lightly as future developers will ask the City for the same concessions.
√ protect the health of residents from FASNY dumping carcinogenic herbicides on their Conservancy near resident homes. . .no mitigation was ever offered to offset the impact on residents of FASNY’s planned carcinogenic dumping in their Conservancy. This dumping is not the right thing for FASNY to do in a residential neighborhood. . .and who among us wants dangerous chemicals near children and our families? The Conservancy is really a mirage and sham as its primary purpose is to permit FASNY to concentrate their all building activities on their other 53 acres. And the Conservancy is certainly not a gift to the City since FASNY is not giving the City anything. . .however FASNY is giving the Conservancy all of the “unbuildable” wetlands and steep slope parts of the old golf course property. And why should anyone believe FASNY’s new proposed Restricted Covenant for the Conservancy. . .if FASNY is ignoring the old existing Restricted Covenant for the old golf course?
√ protect our Property Values from further declines. . .FASNY’s 10-year Construction along with the size of their 53-acre massive school campus and the impact of FASNY’s massive Traffic increases. . .according to real estate professionals will result in permanent reductions in Property Values. And the weakness in Property Values has already started just from the threat of FASNY’s presence in our community. After only a few months we already don’t like the German School’s destruction and Traffic distractions. . .so we’re worried that FASNY’s 53-acre 10-year Construction will make our residential neighborhood look like a third-world country and dramatically devastate Property Values.
√ support your fellow WP citizens in rejecting FASNY’s plans. . .including 8 Neighborhood Associations, the WP School Board, the Conservation Board, the Planning Board and residents in the Southend of the City. . .all who will be adversely impacted by FASNY’s intrusion into our community.
X there are no benefits with this FASNY project. . .for the 60 thousand or so citizens of WP whose taxes will be supporting the non-profit FASNY. . .especially compared to the alternative of 60 new residential houses that. . .would be allowable under the WP Comprehensive Plan and the current R1-30 Zoning. . .would provide additional property tax revenue. . .and bring in significantly less Traffic than FASNY.
Our list of FASNY negatives is significant and the citizens you serve are asking for your protection. In our list you see all of our FASNY concerns together in one place. . . and also see that there are no benefits for FASNY building their school campus on the old golf course. This is really a dramatic indictment of FASNY’s project.
Not many elected officials get the opportunity to leave a critical and historic legacy for their public service. Please don’t ruin your own legacy by voting “yes” for FASNY as your “yes” vote would be. . .betraying WP School Children. . .betraying your fellow neighbors. . .and betraying the rule of law. . .all of which you were elected to protect.
The future of our City depends on our elected leaders protecting school children, residents and our Comprehensive Plan and Zoning. Please vote “no” on FASNY.
Thanks for your support,
Your Truth Police, Team Rhodes
Marie and Ron Rhodes