The Front Page:
Council approves 281-unit, luxury JPI Jefferson at White Plains complex.
Late Night with Louis Cappelli: Council anoints him designated developer, votes to let developer raze Macy's at City Center site.
Greer supporter of "higher than 25 stories," changes tune, calls for independent urban consultant to judge impact on city, says it will greatly change White Plains. Malmud supports study.
Youth Bureau receives $170,000 from state for programs for Coachman Youth.
Council supports resolution in State Assembly to transfer overfunded police pension to general fund, prelude to funding open space money. WPPBA says "not so fast."
By John F. Bailey
CityLine: June 4, 2001 -- City Hall
The City of White Plains took two steps closer to a new White Plains Monday evening. When the Mayor adjourned the proceedings at 2 AM Tuesday morning, the following had taken place:
The Council opened and closed a public hearing on the JPI Jefferson at White Plains 281-unit apartment proposal at 300 Mamaroneck Avenue, and voted unanimously to approve the development, which the developer's legal counsel said they hoped to begin construction on in August. The resolution was amended to require specifically that JPI would run a shuttle bus to the Trans Center if more than 75 residents of the complex said they would ride it, and the developer agreed specifically to include 5 2 bedroom apartments and 11 one-bedroom apartments for "affordable" housing.
After hearing a 1 hour presentation by Louis Cappelli on the developer's proposed City Center at Mamaroneck and Main, the Council also voted to approve him as a designated developer of the site and approved an agreement by a vote of 6-1 (with Benjamin Boykin, Jr., dissenting) under which Mr. Cappelli could begin demolishing the Macy's building as early as next Monday.
A striking aftermath of the Cappelli presentation, was a distinct lack of enthusiasm of Councilman Robert Greer and Councilwoman Rita Malmud, for the proposed 30 and 34-story residential apartment buildings.
Greer said "Why not higher?"two weeks ago in a work session with Louis Cappelli, when the Planning Department suggested 25-stories for the Cappelli apartment buildings. He was a very positive force in his comments to Cappelli to build higher, but Monday night suddenly expressed anxieties.
After seeing Cappelli's plans for his 30- and 34-story towers, Greer said he was not knowledgeable enough to judge the effect of what such high buildings would have on White Plains, and that by approving them the council would be changing the character of the city for years to come. He said he felt strongly the council should hire a nationally known urban consultant to do a study on the possible long term effects on the city. Rita Malmud, in her remarks, agreed with Greer's call for a consultant.
After the meeting which broke at 2 PM Tuesday morning, Executive Officer George Gretsas told WPCNR, the Mayor's offices would be contacting possible consultants to conduct such a study and present them to the council as soon as possible, "to get this project moving."
Another fact we learned was that Louis Cappelli has not progressed in acquiring the parcels of land he hopes to assemble for the project. All 5 parcels he plans to acquire: the Fleet Bank, the pyschology research center, the A.O. Lin building, and the properties fronting Mamaroneck Avenue have not come to terms with Cappelli, according to Mr. Gretsas. Gretsas said that the city's power of eminent domain would be used to acquire those sites and that the city is in the process obtaining "fair, accurate appraisals" of the value of those sites.
In other developments, the Council announced a contract with the New York State Juvenile Justice Advisory Board to provide $170,000 over three years to fund programs specifically for the youth living at The Coachman county homeless residence. According to Councilwoman Pauline Oliva, the grant would be spread over three years and provide an after school mentoring program to help the youth at the Coachman develop business skills; an after school anti-drug program similar to DARE, and an after school study program to improve study skills.
In the final developments of the evening, the city voted to approve a resolution supporting a bill introduced by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin which would authorize the city to transfer some $2.8 million from an overfunded police pension fund to the city's general fund. The purpose of this legislation being introduced was to use part of this money to fund the Mayor's open space initiative.
Speaking on behalf of the White Plains Police Benevolent Association, a spokesman said the WPPBA would like the opportunity to discuss with the city the possibilities of using this police pension money to fund the White Plains Police into a Tier 1 status police department. Tier 1 status would allow a policeman's salary for retirement to be based on his last year's earnings, not the last three, a distinct advantage for each officer. The Mayor said he was willing to discuss it after the legislation was approved. The council voted approve the resolution.
In the final act of the evening, the Council voted to refer out to departments a request of Elizabeth Arden Salons, Inc., request for an exterior illuminated sign at The Westchester Mall.
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