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WPCNR SOUTH END TIMES. From the French American School of New York March 21, 2019 updated 3 PM EDT with Reporting from WPCNR:
IN A NEWS STATEMENT TODAY, The French-American School of New York (FASNY) has decided to divest part of its Ridgeway property in White Plains.
FASNY recently retained CBRE, a commercial real estate services firm, to market and sell three undeveloped portions of the property, while retaining the 28 acres that are approved for construction of its Secondary School campus and a 51-acre nature conservancy.
FASNY is selling
what are known as Parcel B (14 acres between Gedney Esplanade and
Heatherbloom Road); Parcel C (15.5 acres between Heatherbloom and Bryant
Avenue); and a portion of Parcel D (18.4 acres starting from Hathaway Lane and
heading towards Ridgeway) that is not part of
the dedicated nature conservancy. The parcels are zoned for
single-family residential use.
FASNY entered a stipulation of settlement with the City of White Plains and ultimately obtained site plan approval and a permit for a reduced project for its Secondary School (grades 6-12) campus only on Parcel A.
The conditions of the approval pertain only to Parcel A and the conservancy, with residential use remaining in effect for the balance of the property.
The FASNY Board of Trustees
remains committed to the vision of a future permanent campus for the school and
is working to create the best conditions to fulfill this vision.
John Sheehan, President of the Gedney Association involved in a legal action challenging the city approval of the new school construction on parcel A (not for sale) gave WPCNR this statement on this development:
“The Mayor and the Common Council has egg on their faces,“ was Sheehan’s first reaction to the news of three parcels for sale.
“They didn’t require information on what the school would do with the rest of the property after the revised (Parcel A) school plan was approved. When Councilperson Nadine Hunt-Robinson asked what they would do, the city was told by FASNY they would build nothing with the undeveloped property for 15 years. The Gedney Association will insist that the R-30, 30,000 square foot zoning of the (Parcels B,C, D) will be strictly enforced.”
Asked if the Gedney Association might initiate a new legal action against this effort to sell of property, violating SQRA regulations forbidding segmentaion, Sheehan said “That’s an interesting question.”
Vegan environmental activist Ray Ippolito will lead a conversation on
what we can do to save the planet in a forum at the Community Unitarian
Universalist Congregation at White Plains (CUUC) on Sunday, March 24, from 11:30–1:00. The forum is sponsored by the
congregation’s Animal Advocacy Social Justice Team and is open to the public;
it is suitable for school-age children and adults. Light food and beverages
will be provided.
CUUC is located at 468 Rosedale Avenue, White
Plains, NY 10605. Childcare can be provided if requested by noon on Wednesday, March
20; send request to CUUCevents@gmail.com.
ANNOUNCES BEGINNING OF PHASE II OF MUSEUM DEVELOPMENT. $1.74 MILLION IN INTERIOR RENOVATION TO COMPLETE IN MAY. NO COUNTY MONEY INVOLVED.
WPCNR asked Mr. Latimer about whether Standard Amusements is still interested in taking over management of Playland. Mr. Latimer said, “The lawyers are still in negotiations.” He said Westchester County would run Playland this summer and by November 1, the county would see where things stood with Standard. He said he could not comment further because he did not want to influence the talks still going on.
WPCNR SOUTHEND TIMES.By John F. Bailey. March 13, 2019:
Promising his audience at the Council of Neighborhood Associations he would “give you all the answers,” Robert Weisz did just that last night
As he began his presentation on his “The Flats” apartments now in public hearings before the White Plains Common Council, before he’d even spoken two sentences, murmurs and raised voices from the circle of CNA representatives rose in clamor, before they were admonished by CNA President telling them to hold their questions until after Mr. Weisz had finished, calming the crowd for the duration of the meeting.
MR. WEISS EXPLAINING HOW HE WILL HANDLE ACCESS TO RIDGEWAY CONCERNS. WPCNR VIDEO
By meeting’s end, Mr. Weisz had won them over.
His patient, clear, unruffled answers and refreshing sincerity of style had appeared to have given most of the concerned satisfactory answers to their concerns and support of the project from most of the delegates. His passion as an owner was contagious to the crowd. He showed the audience he cared about being a good neighbor, saying,
“We have micromanaged this project. We don’t want to be a nuisance to anyone. We have tried very hard to do the right thing.”
Concerns of those at the Council raised centered on the heights of the 5-story apartments; whether paths leading into the Ridgeway neighborhood would be closed off from the 1133 complex to prevent access by pedestrian/trespassers; lighting from the complex and ability of the redesigned parking lot at 1133 would handle all the cars of 303 apartment dwellers and 1133 business tenants. Significantly, no traffic concerns or situations appeared an issue.
Saying he intended to build 250 additional parking slots for a total of 1,250 and redesigning the parking configuration with narrower parking slots, a traffic circle, landscaping, he eased parking capacity fear. He announced a daily shuttle service to take residents and workers to and from the White Plains Metro North Station and the the 1133 complex at various times during the day. He said he is working on designing an evergreen copse of trees to shield the Ridgeway and North Street areas from the compled during the winter when existing trees were devoid of leaves.
He assured them the 5-story apartments (to be erected on the Westchester Avenue/Maple Moor Golf Course side of the property) would be built on a 10-foot lower grade slope than the existing 1133 building assuring the tops of the solar-paneled rooftops would not be visible over the top of the 1133 office roof.
Weisz disclosed that his outreach to firms who were tenants at 1133 and looking for office space, had indicated, that they were interested in renting apartments as corporate suites for use by their companies, and apartments for their workers if they were to take space at the 1133 office complex, which currently is 90% rented, Weisz said.
He said the complex already is a natural gas customer of Con Edision, so it was not affected by the Con Edision moratorium on new natural gas connections after March 15. He also said that his existing building already had interrupted service installed, allowing them to use oil fuel in event of an excessive demand for natural gas.,
The new apartments with the name “The Flats” is to contain 170 one-bedroom apartments, 120 two bedroom apartments, and 10 three-bedroom apartments.
He anticipated getting approval by mid-summer, starting the project before winter (“We’re ready to go,” he said, and opening the project sometime in 2021.
Weiss commented his meeting Monday evening with the Ridgeway Association went well, too. He described a meeting where most of the participants were positive to the project at the close.
Weisz, answering a question of the CNA President about why White Plains appealed to him and the future of city zoning proposal allowing residential apartments in White Plains office parks in the city Here was his answer:
WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. By John F. Bailey. March 11, 2019:
Taxpayers in White Plains will be faced with a 3.5% increase in their school tax rate, if the preliminary Superintendent’s Budget stays as it is. And if there is no last minute legislative infusion of school aid to the White Plains School District, or cuts by the Board of Education
In one of the more detailed presentations of the budget this evening at White Plains Education House, before 40 persons, Superintendent Dr. Joseph Ricca detailed at $226,285,980 budget for 2019-20, a 3.4% increase over the current school year budget of $21,593,020.
The increase up from the $225 Million projection made in January previously, was two PILOT Projects expiring and going on to the tax roll.
According to Assistant Superintendent for Business, Ann Vaccaro-Teich the 3.4% increase in the budget /results in a 3.5% increase in the tax rate/per $1,000 of assessed valuation of $28, (raising the tax rate from $644.66 per to $672.66/ $1,000 of assessed valutation.
The $28 increase in the tax rate means that the median priced home in White Plains ($650,000) will pay approximately $462 more in school taxes, $11,082 compared to $10,620 this year.
The budget introduces a new Capital Reserve Fund of $25 Million to be raised over the next 10 years to pay for maintenaing the district aging buildings. The establishment of that $25 Million reserve decision would have to be approved in a proposition by the voters in the May 21 School District Budget Vote.
The vote on May 21 will also have a proposition to expend $6.4 Million out of the existing Capital Reserve Fund to cover infrastructure renovations at Highlands School and the high school.
The School Superintendent Dr. Joseph Rica told WPCNR that there were no cuts made to the original budget submitted a month ago.
He also emphasized during the presentation that White Plains School District would receive $65,000 in state aid this year an increased of ½ a percent. This, of course could change.
Dr. Ricca emphasized that if the budget is defeated twice it would have to be cut by 6.3 Million.
In reviewing projected White Plains School District enrollment, showing White Plains enrollment remaining at the 7,000 level over the next 4 years, Dr. Ricca said the projection did not project any increases from the 6,000 plus apartments planned to be