WPPD Busts Major Drug Factory at 233 Fisher Avenue. Automatic Weapons Found.

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WPCNR POLICE GAZETTE. By John F. Bailey. September 5, 2003 UPDATED WITH PHOTOS 12:30 E.D.T. September 6, 2003: White Plains Police conducted a raid at 233 Fisher Avenue located directly across from Rochambeau School Friday morning at 5:07 A.M. and found a major quantity of cocaine (quantity undetermined at the present time), approximately $18,000 in cash recovered from a safe, automatic weapons,bulletproof vests, shotguns, revolvers and alleged stolen goods. Fifteen officers of the White Plains Police Department Special Response Team arrested  the owner of the house, Jose Antonio Sanchez,50, and his nephew, Miguel Antonio Sanchez, 32 at the apartment raided on multiple charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance, weapons violations, Commissioner Frank Straub reported today at a news conference at the Public Safety Building at 2 PM today. 

233 FISHER AVENUE: Site of White Plains Police Drug Raid early Friday morning as it appeared Friday evening with Crime Scene Yellow Tape wrapped around entrance yard, as seen from Rochambeau School. Photo by WPCNR NEWS


WHITE PLAINS PUBLIC SAFETY COMMISSIONER FRANK STRAUB ANNOUNCES DRUG ARRESTS at White Plains Public Safety Building. The Commissioner, at podium is seen with the Special Response Team standing with District Attorney Jeanine Pirro, in front of the “arsenal,” drugs, cash and stolen goods conviscated at Friday morning’s drug raid on one apartment in 233 Fisher Avenue. Photo by WPCNR News. 

Commissioner Straub said the investigation was continuing and was focusing on “other points of distribution in the city,” which the “drug factory” is believed to have supplied. He said the apartment was raided after search warrants were obtained after a one-month investigation conducted by his department. Straub said no other housing locations in the Fisher Avenue area were involved as part of the drug investigation. When asked if they were looking at other houses in the city, or restaurants, Straub said, “we’re focusing on other points of distribution in the city.”

CACHE OF DEADLY WEAPONS AND AMMUNITION WAS UNEXPECTED: Special Response Team in conducting an authorized search of the apartment raided at 233 Fisher found two machine guns, a .22 caliber rifle, assorted ammunition, a shot gun. Photo by WPCNR News

The Commissioner described the activity in the apartment raided as being used for cutting cocaine for sale for distribution points in White Plains. The display of contraband weapons and drug paraphenalia conviscated included,  patches of cocaine ready for sale, a lactose product used for cutting the cocaine and a strainer. There was a neat pile of cash in $100 bills, .45 calibre ammunition, a .22 caliber rifle, 2 Machine Guns (a MAC 10 and TECH 9 according to Deputy Commissioner David Chong used for self defense, and according to him used for close-in effective defense).

Apartment was described by Commisioner Straub to be a Cocaine cutting operation for resale to other locations in White Plains, and perhaps elsewhere. Here are cocaine lines (square white patches), cash, lactose product and strainer used in the “cutting” process alleged to have been conducted in the apartment.

Alleged stolen goods included shirts, bicycles, woks. Commissioner Straub said the apartment also appeared to double as a fencing operation. Straub said this kind of find was “unusual for White Plains.” Captain Ann Fitzsimmons said the deadly array of weaponry and firepower found hidden in the apartment was unexpected.

ALLEGED STOLEN GOODS conviscated in Friday morning’s raid. Photo by WPCNR News.

Commissioner Straub described the house as divided into compartments of illegal one-rooms in which 3 or 4 persons were housed. He said the Response Team discovered illegal kitchens, attic rooms, which Straub said the owner of the home was charging $300 to $400.


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Gretsas: Main Street Line May Have to Be Replaced When CappelliBland Hotel Built

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WPCNR WHITE PLAINS STREET. By John F. Bailey. September 5, 2003: George Gretsas, the Mayor’s Executive Officer, clarified his comments Thursday afternoon on the life expectancy of the Main Street Sewer Line by telephoning WPCNR to point out that WPCNR had erred in saying Mr. Gretsas said the pipeline might have to be replaced when it went one and a half times its present effluent flow or over 50% of its 5,210 gallons per minute “capacity,”

He said Thursday it might have to be replaced after the Cappelli Bland Hotel-Office complex under review by the Common Council, came online. “It’s more of a judgment call.  It’s not so much the City Center. It’s what’s next. After 221 goes on line, the sewer pipe would need to be replaced.”

Gretsas reported the estimates of how many gallons per minute, the City Center Retail, and three residential buildings will add to the average gallons per minute flowing through the Pipeline. (Figures given verbally by Gretsas will be reposted in detail, because WPCNR wants to recheck our math)

He took the opportunity to call WPCNR’s source who alleged Mayoral conflict with Joseph Nicoletti a liar.

“Your Source is a Liar.”

Gretsas challenged WPCNR’s source who reported a commissioner quoting the Mayor angrily criticising Public Works Commissioner, Joseph Nicoletti, for wasting the taxpayer’s money by purchasing the machine and doubting Cappelli’s consultants. 

Gretsas bristled at the allegation that the Department of Public Works had suggested the idea of getting the city’s machine. Gretsas said it was his idea to purchase the effluent measuring machine (Gretsas’s) to settle a dispute between Mr. Nicolletti who Gretsas said, supported the stick measurements taken by the Water Department findings that found the pipe to be carrying 80% of its capacity. (See previous story)

Gretsas said Thursday afternoon that Nicoletti disputed Cappelli’s consulting firm accuracy on the effluent measurements.  Gretsas named the Cappelli Enterprises consultant as New England Pipe Cleaning Company, of Watertown, Connecticut.

 “I purchased the machine,” Gretsas said. “The Mayor never said that. He was not at the meeting. We deny that. We deny that he yelled at Commissioner Nicoletti. Your source is a liar.”

Gretsas said the time he ordered the machine was sometime in the summer of 2002. He could not recall when the meeting took place where he suggested the effluents measuring machine purchase, but did recall the Mayor was not present.

Informant Scared Off.

The informant who passed this allegation on to WPCNR’s source, when told of Gretsas’ reaction, urged through our source to drop this inquiry. He was reported as saying it is “too hot” to go any farther that I, WPCNR, might be being set up by the city. Asked what this meant, no details were given by my source.

The intermediary said to the WPCNR source  the situation is “too hot” and refuses to name other commissioners present at the meeting who reported or could confirm this alleged disagreement to him, apparently a year ago, not just last week as he originally told our source. 

Our source whose judgment WPCNR trusted, took the report and its timeliness on good faith as on honest report. To date no other commissioners present during the stick versus computer discussions have come forward to corroborate or support Mr. Nicoletti or the Mayor’s side of this.

No one has stepped forward to explain exactly what the mystery surrounding the sewer pipe was one week ago either, if any, when City Center workers were seriously discussing what was wrong with pipe, so much so that it was noticed by a news-oriented bystander, a photographer on the site.

But that little mystery has been relegated to irrelevant status by the city’s report yesterday from Commissioner Mike Gismondi that the sanitary and storm connections have been “tested and approved” and fit for issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy.

Main Street Sewer Line Inspected by Camera in Year 2000.

Gretsas’ assistant Rick Ammirato, added detail on  the Main Street Sewer Line camera inspection. He said the inspection by camera was conducted along the entire length of pipe in 2000. This is a year before the City Center project was approved in September, 2001. There has not been an inspection of the pipe of this sort since that time. Ammirato said the inspection found it to be “in perfect condition.” He also said the pipe had been cleaned at that time, too.

Paul Wood, City Economic Director, also on the conference phone said, “It was George’s idea. Nicoletti had nothing to do with it. He liked the stick.”

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Democrats Hold a Love Fest and Liz Is the One!

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WPCNR BACKROOM BULLETIN. From a WPCNR Correspondent on the Scene. September 5, 2003: Our Correspondent at the famous backroom on 171 East Post Road, otherwise known as Democratic Headquarters, reports that Elizabeth Shollenberger was elected by acclamation Thursday evening to be the new Democratic City Chairperson, succeeding the legendary leader, Adam Bradley. Robert Hoch was nominated from the floor, but declined the nomination, and Ms. Schollenberger was swept into her new role. She said in her acceptance speech that her goal was unity in the party, and that she would be open to all District Leaders and their concerns. In attendance were George Latimer,( the actual Chairman of the Westchester Democratic Party), and County Legislators William Ryan and Lois Bronz.

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Gismondi: CC Lines, “Connected, Tested Approved.” Gretsas: New Pipe Possible

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WPCNR THE WHITE PLAINS STREET. By John F. Bailey, UPDATED September 4, 2003: In a 45-minute news conference Wednesday afternoon with WPCNR, Executive Officer of the City of White Plains, George Gretsas, dismissed as unfounded, misleading and politically motivated, rumors circulating last week and reported by WPCNR, that there is a problem with the City Center connecting with the White Plains Main Street sewer line.  Late Wednesday afternoon, returning from a short vacation in Orlando, Florida, he gave us “the rest of the story.”


In the news conference Mike Gismondi, White Plains Commissioner of Building, was cued up on intercom, and Mr. Gismondi stated over the speaker system that “all sanitary, storm, and electrical”  hookups from the City Center retail portion of the project to the Main Street Sewer Line, including Target (scheduled to open October 15), had been “connected, tested and approved” by the Building Department and city departments, clearing way for a Certificate of Occupancy.


WPCNR was also given figures measuring actually Effluent Flows through the city Main Street Sewer Line monitored late last fall and early spring showing that the Sewer is now operating at approximately 20% of its flow per minute capacity supporting Cappelli Enterpriss analysis of the flow stresses on the Main Street sewer. Gretsas said the pipe can absorb City Center effluent with ease.



The statement to WPCNR over intercom by Gismondi officially discredits the rolling rumors of workers on the site and in city hall, speculating there was “a problem” with the Main Street sewer connection process. Gretsas said unequivocably Wednesday night that there are no “problems” with sewer connections to the City Center, and there were  “no problems” of sewer access involving the two apartment towers and condominium loft under construction.


Gretsas unveiled to media for the first time, weekly figures of an Effluent Flow Analysis compiled that morning and early Wednesday afternoon from data on effluent flow monitored by a city-owned Sewage Monitor  that has been measuring the weekly Main Street Sewer Line Flows since October 2002.


The monitoring reports dictated to WPCNR from Mr.Gretsas’ notes,  showed that the capacities of the Main Street sewer line, a line that has never been replaced since its installation, were running an average of 20% of its capacity prior to welcoming the effluent from the City Center project. An estimate of  the total City Center effluent to be added was not given. Gretsas  promised to acquire today, but as of this writing have not been received. WPCNR will post it as soon as City Hall delivers it.


Mayor Eventually Agreed to City Run Test


The Mayor’s Executive Officer characterized WPCNR reporting that Mayor Joseph Delfino  (attributed to the Mayor by the source who had mishandled the Commissioner originally reporting the exchange), had put Commissioner Joseph Nicoletti’s suggestion of testing the sewer line on hold as false, that it was tantamount to a charge of “corruption” or “malfeasance,” if it were true. (WPCNR respectfully disagrees that the term “on hold”  implied that interpretation.)


Gretsas said that far from being against Mr. Nicoletti’s proposal, the Mayor had eventually agreed to the Department of Public Works lobbying that the city conduct its own sewer flow tests to supplement those conducted by a Cappelli Enterprises’ consultant (whose name was not supplied, but was said to be forthcoming today)who had done their own tests and analysis of White Plains effluents flow through the Main Street sewer line.


Consultant was Employed by Mr. Cappelli


WPCNR’s source had said the consultant in question,  was hired by the city by Mr. Nicoletti and, as it turns out was not told accurate information. Our source had received erroneous information from his informant . Checking back with our Source, he explained his informant told him by way of explanation, that  a participant in a staff meeting, a city commissioner, had reported to his informant that the Mayor had a profane exchange with Mr. Nicoletti, and had strongly criticized Mr. Nicoletti for wasting the tax payers money on a machine that had cost approximately $20,000, and that Mr. Cappelli had his own experts.”


Gretsas said WPCNR was wrong in reporting that this meeting had taken place a short time ago, that there was no meeting last Friday. The source who provided us with this information understood the time frame to be just before Labor Day, but actually, according to Gretsas  the decision to install the city sewer monitor goes back sometime before late October of 2002, he could not recall exactly when, saying the decision to deploy a computerized city sewer monitor evolved prior to October 27 when the city sewer monitor was installed.


Machine cost $9,275.

Gretsas said that the city after “discussion” had eventually agreed with the Department of Public Works and other commissioners and purchased the machine for $9,275 (what is not clear is whether when the machine was already purchased before or after the Mayor’s disagreeable discussion reported by a Commissioner (not Mr. Nicoletti) who was present to witness the Mayor’s scolding of Mr. Nicoletti on acquiring the machine).  The city machine was installed on the Main Street sewer line October  27, 2002.


“The Commissioner of Public Works (Mr. Nicoletti) has the same concern we have. If we need a new pipe, we don’t want to pay for it,” Gretsas said.


The machine has been monitoring the waste creation  of businesses and residences along the Main Street sewer line which runs from Insterstate 287 on the east side of the city to the train station at Route 119 to the West, a distance of approximately 1.2 miles.


Origins of Rumor?


Gretsas said the Main Street Sewer Line is a 16-inch pipe and “every business and residence on Main Street hooks into this, it has a capacity to handle 5,210 gallons of effluent per minute.”

The issue of effluent capacity arose because Cappelli Enterprises, Gretsas explained, is required by the City Center Site Plan Approval to pay for all improvements in the infrastructure up until the time Certificates of Occupancy are issued. The matter of whether the Main Street Sewer could handle the effluent from the City Center complex first arose after the site plan approval in 2001 when “someone, I believe from the water department stuck a stick in the sewer pipe and said the sewer line was running at 80% capacity.”


Cappelli Enterprises Runs Their Own Test.


Cappelli Enterprises, according to Gretsas, then placed a monitoring machine the same as is in the sewer pipe today, in the pipe November 3, 2002, to get a more accurate reading. They contended that the “stick method tended to give a false reading because the water would rise against the stick,” Gretsas said. Mr. Cappelli hired a consultant (which is where our source’s informant misinterpreted the information told him by the commissioner relating the controversy well apparently over a year ago, saying Mr. Nicoletti had hired a consultant).


Cappelli Figures: Existing Businesses, Residences Use 20% of Main’s Line.


Gretsas said the Cappelli monitoring machine measured gallons per minute flow through the Main Street Sewer in January of 2002. He said Cappelli Enterprises found the old reliable Main Street Sewer line, the original first sewer line, flow rate ranged from 15 to 20% of its 5,210 gallon per minute capacity.


DPW Sewage Monitor Confirms Cappelli Findings In Rainiest Spring.


Gretsas continued his rundown of events, “So the Cappelli consultant comes in and puts this machine in to measure the flow of effluent, and says there is another 70 to 80% capacity left in the tank. Nobody in the city agrees. They dismiss the accuracy or effectiveness of Cappelli’s consultant. (Gretsas did not identify who disagreed). We can’t verify that they said. We want to be sure they said that we do not need a new line. We all decide, let’s go and buy our own machine.”


Gretsas said the machine is the same instrument the Cappelli consultant used and the Department of Public Works is convinced of the accuracy of the machine ability to record the flow.


City Results Are In and Are Lower Than Cappelli Figures


At Wednesday’s news conference, Gretsas revealed the average results of the city sewer monitor that has been “in the pipe” since October 27, 2002.


Gretsas noted that the city tests monitoring the capacity on the most rainy spring and summer in the county’s history are in through last May. He gave a sampling of them to WPCNR, reading from a notepad, covering the fall holiday season, and what he described as the heaviest rain week of the year. The results support the Cappelli findings that the Sewer pipe runs at an average of 20% of its flow-per-minute capacity.


Viewers should note the capacity of the Main Street Sewer Line flow-per-minute is 5, 210 Gallons.


Effluent Level Analysis: Main Street Sewer Pipe

Date of Installation in Main Street Sewer Pipe October 27, 2002

G.P.M Stands for Gallons Per  Minute


End Week of       Average G.P.M.     Max. Recorded      Max      Pct. Capacity

Nov. 3, 2003                 422                           600              5,210             12.5%

Nov. 10, 2003               422                           586              5,210              11.2%

Nov. 17, 2002               516                           681              5,210              13.1%

Nov. 24, 2002              952                           1,187            5,210               22.8%

Dec. 1, 2003                 319                           683              5,210               13.1%


Rainy Spring Weeks


End of Week:

March 23, 2003            999                          1,433            5,210                27.5%

March 30, 2003            655                          1,309            5,210                25.1%

April 6, 2003                630                          1,155             5,210                22.1%

April 20, 2003              1,071                       1,441             5,210           27.6%*

April 27, 2003                 761                       1,353             5,210                25.9%

May 4, 2003                 863                           1,886            5,210             36.1%*

(Figures Orally Provided by The Mayor’s Office, City of White Plains. Percentage; WPCNR)

  • Indicates Highest Weeks of Effluent Flow.

  • Indicates Second Highest Week of Effluent Flow of Spring


The raw results show the Main Line Sewer pipe handles 11 to 13% on the high side of its capacity per minute tolerance on its maximum, and on a heavy use week, Thanksgiving Week maximum usage peaks to 23%. The average flow (11%) recorded by the city machine,  shows the aveage sewage flow to be about 3 to 4% less than what Cappelli’s consultant estimated (15%).


Gretsas used the examples of the two worst rain weeks of last spring: April 20 and May 4, a wet week in the rainiest year in Westchester County history  to demonstrate that the Main Line Sewer Pipe is handling a level of sewage with room to handle the City Center effluents in a worst case scenario. The peak levels during  these two wet weeks were tested to 27.5%  and 36% of its capacity.


Gretsas  noted that the City Center effluent could be accommodated even at such high levels (28% and 36%).


The missing figure which Mr. Gretsas was working on to get for WPCNR Thursday morning was the average flow per minute expected to be fed into the Main Street Sewer Line by the City Center, and its three residences.


Cappelli Will Repair, Replace Sewer Pipe if Problem.


In another misunderstanding due to the time discrepancy WPCNR was not cognizant, Gretsas said that Louis Cappelli has demonstrated a willingness to protect the city from any problems associated with the sewer line after the City Center comes on line, contrary to what our source’s informant implied about Mr. Cappelli. Given the gap in time that our source was unaware existed, it is understandable now how Mr. Cappelli’s attitude may have changed.


Yesterday Gretsas assured WPCNR that “No one’s trying to get Cappelli off the hook here.” Gretsas said Cappelli is willing to sign an agreement that as the City Center buildings come on line and are issued their Certificates of Occupancy that he will upgrade the sewer line if the City Center effluents cause a problem.


Grestas on Down the Road:

Main Street Sewer Line Replacement Might Be Necessary.


WPCNR asked how the Main Street Sewer looks in view of the Effluent Level Analysis as it relates to future projects Cappelli is planning.  Gretsas said that if 221 Main Street (the Cappelli Bland Hotel Project) and added, the prospect of development of the former A & P property on Main Street were developed that the 1.2 mile Main Street Sewer Line might have to be replaced.   Gretsas said the city did not know at this time if it would have to be replaced.


“If it (the flow) approaches half capacity or more, we will. I don’t know,” Gretsas said.


The Main Street Sewer Line is still the original line first laid by the city according to an engineer intimately familiar with the city’s underground system, the former Mayor Alfred Del Vecchio  Mayor Del Vecchio in a telephone interview with WPCNR recalled the replacement of the Mamaroneck Avenue sewer pipe in the late 1970s came about after a 1970’s review of the city’s infrastructure needs. The former Mayor said the decision to replace the pipe came about when a camera inspection of the pipe, located 40 feet below the surface of Mamaroneck Avenue,  was in danger of rupturing.  A year long construction of the Mamaroneck Avenue line was initiated over 1979-1980, with construction suspended during one holiday season.


WPCNR placed a question to City Hall as to whether a camera inspection had been conducted on the Main Street Sewer Pipe and Gretsas said it had been inspected visually the length of the entire pipe and found in perfect condition.








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White Plains Schools Open Today. New Drop0ff Plan at High School

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WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. September 4, 2003: School begins today for the City School District enrollment of approximately 6, 899 elementary, middle and high school students in White Plains. Yesterday, orientation was held for the incoming White Plains High School freshman class. Parents of high school students are reminded that there is a new dropoff and pickup traffic pattern at the high school in effect. Students being transported to the high school by parents are to be dropped off at the front of the high school via entry from North Street or the high school entrance off Bryant Agenue (East bound). Buses will drop off students at the entrance of the athletic department ( Traffic Circle in front of South House). Studentdrivers are required to park on the North side of the high school

The school district expects enrollment of 636 at Church Street School, 633 at George Washington School, 643 at Mamaroneck Avenue School, 496 at Post Road School, 617 at Ridgeway School. At the Middle School campuses, Highlands and Eastview, 1,511 students are expected and 1,861 are enrolled at the high school.

New Principals are in place at Mamaroneck Avenue School with Gail Epstein on board and Post Road School where Dr. Freddie Smith begins his first year.

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Liz is the One! Shollenberger to Head City Democrats.

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WPCNR BACKROOM BULLETIN. September 3, 2003: WPCNR has been informed by Democratic Party insiders that Elizabeth Shollenberger is the new Nominating Committee choice to succeed Adam Bradley as leader of the White Plains City Democratic Party. She is expected to be presented to District Leaders Thursday evening.

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Council Extends NYPH Site Plan Permit, 5-2; Bland Redesigns 221 Main.

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WPCNR COMMON COUNCIL CHRONICLE-EXAMINER. By John F. Bailey. September 3, 2003: The Common Council voted to extend the New York Presbyterian Hospital site plan permit another year last night by a vote of 5 to 2 with Benjamin Boykin, Robert Greer, Mayor Joseph Delfino, Glen Hockley and Tom Roach voting for extension and Rita Malmud and William King demurring. Benjamin Boykin said he was convinced that the negotiated agreement allowing affiliates or associate researchers to use the planned biomedical center and proton accelerator facility was in the spirit of the original approval, and Messrs Greer, Hockley and Roach concurred. Mr. Roach spoke for many when he said it was time to move on and build a relationship with the hospital.


William King in his remarks to the Council on extension of the permit appeared to reveal that verbal information about the hospital’s willingness to negotiate land had been broached to the Common Council, as reported by WPCNR.

Geoffrey Thompson of Thompson & Bender, spokesman for New York Presbyterian Hospital confirmed to WPCNR that the developer to be named later was a financial partner and not a tenant of the facility, indicating that some of the financing for the facility approved later in the evening was coming together. Alan Teck of Concerned Citizens for Open Space confirmed that CCOS had preserved its right to appeal the Article 78 decision by filing a Notice of Appeal several days ago. Teck in his remarks to the Common Council, for the first time said CCOS would support rezoning of the hospital as commercial (medical), providing development was confined to the oval and substantial meadow space was preserved as a park. (Just such an arrangement was presented to the Common Council as being something the hospital might do in return for rezoning the property medical commercial.)

In other action, Frederick Bland, of Beyer, Blinder and Belle architects presented a completely new design for the 221 Main Street project eliminating the Bar Building, during a lively reconvening of the public hearing on Cappelli-Bland hotel project proposed for the North side of Main Street between Church Street and Court Street. A crowd of 83 persons jammed the Council Chambers for this continuation of the August opening of the hearings on the project. The hearing will continue in October.

A highlight of the hearing was Carl Finger speaking for the owners of the Bar Building property who said that Louis Cappelli has not been negotiating for the building and that the owners had no intention of selling the property. Mr. Cappelli holding court with reporters at a midway break in the meeting dismissed Mr. Finger’s comments saying it laid the groundwork for an excellent start to negotiations.

In resolutions passed, the Kensico Avenue affordable housing project of which Bill Brown is the principal, was approved. Mr. Brown would not reveal what his new pilot (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) was, an issue that was resolved in Executive Session last week.

Public Safety Day was set for September 13 between 9 AM and 3 PM at the Public Safety Building.

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NYPH Pitches 55 Acres of Park for Rezoning to Med-Commersh Before Renewal Vote.

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WPCNR COMMON COUNCIL CHRONICLE-EXAMINER. By John F. Bailey. September 1, 2003: It has been three weeks since Supreme Court Judge Richard A. Molea dismissed the Article 78 proceeding filed by Concerned Citizens for Open Space and six White Plains residents to prevent New York Presbyterian Hospital from building a biomedical-proton accelerator treatment center in the interior of the New York Presbyterian Hospital. The suit filed in September of 2002 took eleven months to resolve. Now, Concerned Citizens for Open Space President, Alan Teck reports that his organization will definitely appeal the decision.
Meanwhile, New York Presbyterian Hospital has according to two highly reliable sources, let it be known to the city and the  Common Council that it will give the city some of its vast real estate holdings, if the city would rezone their land “medical commercial.” The secret offer, revealed in “executive session,” in effect, would appear to remove one of the lynchpins of any CCOS appeal of the dismissed lawsuit.

According to a WPCNR confidente present in the behind-closed-doors “Executive Session” of the Common Council 11 days ago on  August 21, the matter of rezoning the hospital medical commercial in return for giving the city 55 acres of land came up for discussion in that Executive Session. Terms of the “land incentive” were not disclosed.

Changing Zoning Enhances the Opportunity

The hospital  perhaps senses another year with an Article 78 suit appeal process  erecting yet another roadblock to getting their “Center for Excellence” in place, leaving the door open to their archrival for Governor George Pataki’s financial affections, the Westchester County Medical Center  to co-opt a prize they thought they had assured, “Center for Excellence” designation for Southeastern New York area.

The longer the existence of a law suit hangs over the Common Council approval of their biomedical-proton accelerator facility the less attractive New York Presbyterian Hospital is to big time partners in research such as IBM and General Electric, two partners whom NYPH has yet to lure to the facility, whom they had proudly promoted as the types of corporations they hoped to attract to the biomedical-cancer treatment complex last fall.

“New Friends  of CCOS” Have Connections with Hospital Rival.

What is curious about the CCOS suit is that it was  handled by Oxman, Tulis, Kirkpatrick,Whyatt & Geiger. One of those partners is Mark Tulis, the Chairman of the Board of the Westchester County Health Corporation. Westchester County Health Corporation operates Westchester County Medical Center, a key competitor for New York State’s dwindling health care dollars earmarked for this region. The Medical Center previously challenged for the Center of Excellence designation eventually awarded New York Presbyterian Hospital by Governor Pataki.

Another principal of CCOS’s law firm, Marc Oxman, was formerly Executive Director of the Westchester Democratic Party, as pointed out by Jonathan Appel. The law firm’s website still describes him as the Executive Director of the Party.
CCOS has told WPCNR that Oxman, Tulis, Kirkpatrick, Whyatt & Geiger is handling the Article 78 NYPH-Common Counsel suit at a  substantially reduced fee.

So long to R1-12.5

New York Presbyterian Hospital, according to WPCNR’s  source has made it known to the city and it was relayed to the Common Council that the hospital would give the city 55 acres of NYPH land if the city would rezone their property “medical commercial,” instead of the present R1-12.5  Residential. The R1-12.5 zoning designation is the reason why the hospital operates under a special permit forged in 1927, and had to apply for a Special Permit to build the biomedical research center and proton acclerator complex.

 WPCNR’s observation of  whom was present going into that Executive Session, indicated no hospital representative presented this offer, which apparently means this “possibility” was relayed to the council by city representatives.

Removing a Stumbling Block

The medical commercial designation would remove one of  the key objections raised by the CCOS Article 78 suit, that the awarding of a Special Permit for the construction of the biomedical-cancer treatment facility was not an ancillary use as defined by the original special permit. Among its objections, the CCOS Article 78 suit recently dispatched contended that the use  was not ancillary, but was commercial in nature,  which in their attorney’s opinion, required a zoning change.

Déjà vu All Over Again

The hospital’s reported willingness to give away 55 acres of its land if the council would rezone is essentially a repackaging of the offer the Common Council rejected on July 17, 2000,  when it was known as “The Millenium Plan” which  asked for zoning a portion of the hospital property for retail in return for awarding 60 acres of land to the city. Now that offer is back with a tweak.

Strategic Timing?

It is interesting to not that this “reported” hospital offer reaches the Council at a time when the Council s being lobbied hard by opponents of the project to reject renewal of the Hospital Site Plan for the biomedical research center- proton accelerator project.

Council President Benjamin Boykin told WPCNR  the renewal resolution is scheduled to come to a vote at the Tuesday September 2 Common Council meeting.

The Council is split as to whether to grant a site plan renewal, a process they have granted routinely to Louis Cappelli, JPI Associates, and Bank Street Commons,  the three major developers now building projects in the city. The council willingness to grant site plan renewals routinely makes a  forthcoming New York Presbyterian Hospital suit a very strong one should the council reject the site plan renewal.

News to Teck

Alan Teck, President of  Concerned Citizens for Open Space, said last week, he was not aware of the hospital  medical commercial offer, and said he had no comment to make on whether the 55 acres of open space would be welcomed by CCOS. He said he would make comments on renewal of the site plan at the Common Council meeting Tuesday. Concerned Citizens for Open Space would be put in a unique position of once again having to decide whether  to object to an offer of free land, if the medical commercial rezoning for 55 acres of land were to be embraced by the Common Council.

An Out for the Council? Or Insurance for NYPH? Or Opening a Pandora’s Box?

Is the New York Presbyterian Hospital offer a convenient election olive branch they are offering to the members of the Common Council up for reelection (Robert Greer and Benjamin Boykin) who are under pressure by CCOS and influential constituents to  vote down the site plan renewal?

The rezoning in return for land offer  could be a possible way to allow Mr. Boykin, William King, Rita Malmud and Tom Roach to please the anti-New York Presbyterian Hospital constituency by rejecting the renewal, with an understanding that the zoning change would be granted  in effect, derailing the notoriously slow lawsuit freight train? (An appeal is expected to take at least one year.)

A Revival of the Rejected Plan? Rezoning
Sure to Spark a Fight.

The New York Presbyterian Hospital could allow the Council to vote down the site plan renewal, thus allowing candidates for Council, Boykin and Greer (Greer is a supporter of the project) a pass on the issue. Shortly thereafter, they could immediately present a new request for a rezoning in return for the 55 acres, with the understanding that the Council would pass a rezoning quickly.

But can the NYPH trust the Common Council to do that? Why would the New York Presbyterian Hospital make such a land offer at this time, when opponents of any NYPH development would surely drag out any rezoning hearing before the council, and most likely appeal any medical commercial rezoning should the council pass it?

Land fought for over the years. Once Almost the City’s

The 55 acres being offered is land consisting of woods and wetlands paralleling Bloomingdale Road from the Bloomingdale’s entrance to Bryant Avenue and the meadows paralleling Bryant Avenue. The hospital admitted in the year 2000 that they cannot build on most of the land they were going to give to the city as part of the Council rejected Plan A. (On July 17, 2000, Mrs. Malmud, Pauline Oliva, Benjamin Boykin, William King, and Larry Delgado voted down that plan, with the Mayor and Robert Greer voting for it. The same night all seven voted down the Plan B development that first proposed the Biomedical-proton accelerator complex, 7-0.)

The Council refused to consider the biomedical-proton accelerator complex to be built beside Bryant Avenue. Five of the 60 acres earmarked as going to the city in 2000 are being taken by the biomedical research and proton accelerator cancer treatment project up for site plan renewal Tuesday night.

A Cross Rough Trumping the CCOS Appeal?

On the other hand, the hospital offer of land for medical commercial rezoning, could be being made as insurance against a site plan renewal rejection, in effect, rewarding the Council for approving the site plan renewal, while at the same time trumping the grounds for CCOS to appeal the Article 78 dismissal.

CCOS could not appeal the just dismissed Article 78 suit if the zoning is changed. They would have to launch a new suit on different grounds should the council rezone.

This strategy would enable the New York Presbyterian Hospital to say to prospective research partners, we’ve gotten the rezoning, and the project is not going to be held up by any more appeals.

Hospital Says it Has a Devoloper, Refuses to Name It.

Last week, it was reported that Geoffrey Thompson, spokesman for New York Presbyterian Hospital, had announced that the hospital had selected a developer and financial partner to develop the complex, but Mr. Thompson declined to name that developer. Thompson also told The Journal News that the hospital had already invested $1,000,000 in developing the property and that the Article 78 suit had been partly to blame for delaying the start of construction.  Previously, the hospital had touted to the council that they intended to partner with Comprehensive NeuroScience, Inc., headed by a former NYPH associate, John P. Docherty.

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Fort Hill Players News: “Odd Couple” In October. Intros Logo Contest.

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WPCNR STAGE DOOR. From Joan Charischak. August 30, 2003: Fort Hill Players, continuing its policy of community involvement, is proud to announce a competition to design our new logo.  The competition is open to
people of all ages, schools, and municipalities.  First prize is $ 75, two season tickets to FHP productions,  and recognition in FHP Playbills, Local Press  Releases, and a feature article on FortHillPlayers.com.
Currently celebrating 66 years of superb theatrical productions, Fort Hill  Players and its co-sponsor, White Plains Recreation & Parks are looking forward to viewing the creativity of many of the community’s finest talents.  Deadline for submissions is November 1. 2003.
For Contest Information & Guidelines and application forms see  Forthillplayers.com or contact: Joan 914-946-5143 .

The troup is now taking reservations for their October production of  The Odd Couple, directed by Jim Brownold, the classic comedy that inspired the long running hit television show with Tony Randall. Here’s more:

For Hill Players opens its 66th fall season with one of Neil Simon’s funniest
plays: THE ODD COUPLE, under the direction of Jim Brownold.  The cast
features D. Scott Faubel, Larry Reina, Mitch Broder, Brona Crehan, Maria Falck, ,
Edward Herman and Bill Russell

Just in case you don’t know the plot:  Felix, a “neat freak”, is thrown out
by his wife. His poker buddy Oscar- who has become more than sloppy since his
wife left him – offers Felix the spare bedroom.  This new situation destroys
their friendship almost as quickly as it destroys their poker game.

Co-sponsored by White Plains Recreation  & Parks.

Fridays :   October 10, 17,  24,        8 PM
Saturdays   October 11, 18,  25       8 PM
Saturday    October 11            2 PM

            $15   Adults
            $12   Seniors and Students
            $ 6    Children under 12
            $44   Dinner Theatre Package

LOCATION:  Rochambeau School Theatre, 228 Fisher Ave.,White Plains

RESERVATIONS:  914-309-7278             forthillplayers.com
                                               (online purchase available)

SPECIAL NOTE:  This is Fort Hill Players’ 66th Anniversary, making us the
longest running community theater group in the area.

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The Great Blackout of 2003

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WPCNR BOOK CHAT. From First Books Library. August 30, 2003: Force Recon units are part of the U.S. Marine Corps. We conduct raids, do enemy captures, and collect intelligence. We perform other special operations, too. One of these dark ops is covert surveillance of our national security, to expose the mind set in Washington that tolerates acts of domestic terrorism like the “Great Blackout of 2003” that just happened.

Now you can read all about it, in “Behold Leviathan,” this first ever public disclosure of our activities stateside … a document which clearly predicts events like the “power failure” in the NorthEast that left 20 million people without electricity on August 15th, 2003.

About the Author

William Clark was 21st in his class at the U.S. Naval Academy, and later received the Army’s highest peacetime award for turning in a cache of drug users and dealers at White Sands Missile Range; the military’s highest security installation. Clark is a licensed Professional Engineer in several engineering disciplines, and has a MSE in Celestial Mechanics. He is considered an international expert in energy conservation, having published many technical papers, and two textbooks with McGraw-Hill,
Retrofitting for Energy Conservation and Electrical Design Guide for Commercial Buildings He is quite knowledgeable in all aspects of major power distribution systems. Fundamentally there are two problems: the electrical distribution system and total neglect of the principles of energy conservation. Why has nobody in authority mentioned the latter? That is what “Behold Leviathan” is all about.

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