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FASNY: TIME TO STEP UP


Dear White Plains Board of Education members,

EcoNeighbors has heard from a number of sources that, because the City of White Plains has not asked you to take a stand on the construction of FASNY's private educational complex, you feel you can not take any action.
As residents of many different White Plains neighborhoods, parents of students or former students in our public schools, and tax payers, we respectfully disagree with this philosophy.  You are the single body in the City of White Plains whose mandate it is to protect our public schools and our public school children.  You were elected to lead on school issues.  You were not elected to wait to be invited to play a role.  You should be taking leadership in the public discussion of this massive new construction in the immediate area of two of our public schools, informing White Plains families about the impact this new institution may have on their children and speaking up to Common Council about your views. Every other stakeholder group in the City of White Plains has bombarded Common Council with hundreds of letters expressing their constituency's interests in this matter.  Why should only the Board of Education - whose constituency is the heart and soul of any city, and whose mandate is to protect our smallest citizens - hold back from taking a public role in this matter? The White Plains PTA has repeatedly expressed very serious concerns for the safety of our children who walk, bike, and drive to school if huge new amounts of traffic are added to the streets particularly around our high school.  Surely the Board of Ed has some response to this situation?  And some responsibility to do everything it can to prevent danger to our children? Why are White Plains citizens left in the dark about your views on the various impacts of FASNY on our public schools?  Do you not have any thoughts about the planned restructuring of the entrance into the high school?  Additional traffic, whether gas or diesel fueled, will impact the quality of the air our public school children breathe as they walk to school.  Do you have no thoughts on that subject?   Along with Common Council, you are the only other city-wide body elected by the citizens of White Plains to protect our interests. You were elected to lead, not to hang back.  We urge you to act now.

Sincerely,
Marie McCann Barab
for EcoNeighbors

If you are a White Plains resident concerned with the safety of our public school children, please contact the Board of Education with your concerns at:
PETERBASSANO@wpcsd.k12ny.usSherylbrady@wpcsd.k12ny.usRosemarieeller@wpcsd.k12ny.usCharlieNorris@wpcsd.k12ny.usRoselovitch@wpcsd.k12ny.usJameshricay@wpcsd.k12ny.usRandystein@wpcsd.k12ny.usTimconnors@wpcsd.k12ny.usMicheleschoenfeld@wpcsd.k12ny.us
Eve Kunstler December 16, 2013 at 10:56 AM
Just imagine for a moment driving your child along North Street and entering the newly configured WP High School entrance, immediately opposite the newly erected FASNY entrance where over 1,000 students (who do NOT reside in WP) and staff are also entering each and every day. What a clusterf*%ç! Where is the long range vision for this city? It most certainly does not conform with the city's master plan. Anyone with a child in our public school system should be very alarmed.
Kristoff Lukas December 17, 2013 at 01:25 PM
The Faces of American Democracy and Free Choices Speaking Up Eco Neighbors in your misguided public awareness community campaign against FASNY, you neglected to mention and support the 85 plus acres of environmentally protected donated public land use the French American School has donated to the City of White Plains and community. Why not? I respectively disagree with Eco Neighbors disguised opinion and position. Citing the White Plains BOE or any public educational institution, private citizen should coincide with Eco Neighbors adverse position against the French American School. The White Plains Board of Education should align themselves politically march in step with Eco Neighbors position? Oppose and deprive a private higher educational institution of their fair and just American Democratic rights, freedoms, free choice, limit American diverse education in our nation? Take a political position evaluated on your interpretation that the single body of the White Plains BOE mandate is to environmentally protect pedestrian safety in public streets. That is the role of public safety not the WP Board of Education. You imply school children’s safety is at risk under the disguise of public traffic conditions created by FASNY. The factual real issue you neglect to express is the extreme (obstacles) lengths FASNY opposition will take in any shape or form in an attempt to create a negative public relations campaign to derail this private educational institution from entering our city and exercising their American due process rights to do so justly. Publish the facts and truth how a community group continues to take any measure possible to derail the FASNY petition. Disguised behind the political scene and influence the city council’s decision and vote on FASNY in your favor. Fact is the phony “Recreational Re-districting Zoning Land Use Law” obstacle was another absurd failed attempt to derail FASNY. Motivated by a collective few politically directly connected to the city council. Fact is it was Mayor Roach and the entire city council’s lack of leadership in 2010 that voted unanimously NOT to bid and purchase the Ridgeway property. Depriving the citizens of White Plains of that environmental public land treasure. The City of White Plains is our great community we the people create. Derived and formulated from our diverse interest and choices, educational institutions, religious schools, private schools, colleges, private and public higher educational institutions and free choices to do so. To have the right to do so and not be influenced by a small well influential politically connected community group or organization that interfere with the democratic political process. It’s not about weather one supports or does not support FASNY; it’s about the fair just democratic process of FASNY or any private investment to do so in our city. Our children are our future, education, diversity, opportunity and free choice is a way of life in the America and the nation I know of. Carl Albanese.
Yvonne Gumowitz December 17, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Our standpoint is neither "disguised opinion and position" nor misguided in any way. Why should EcoNeighbors support an "85 plus acres of environmentally protected donated public land use" when this conservancy is used to greenwash the citizens of White Plains? (On another note: are you capable of writing a single coherent thought?!) The so called conservancy is now sliced in half with the new access road. Furthermore, FASNY plans to remove all grass with RoundUp. How environmentally sensitive, considering the land has numerous underground streams leading to ponds and some wetlands! Furthermore, this land will NOT be donated to the city and is for educational uses only, whatever that may mean. The "disguise of public traffic conditions" you speak of cannot be disguised. Fact is that FASNY will produce tremendous amounts of traffic. Fact is that said traffic will traverse along the very roads our own public school children take. Fact is south White Plains is inundated with private schools already. I wish our organization was "politically connected" — it would be a much more beautiful place to live!
Eve Kunstler December 17, 2013 at 05:34 PM
Oh Lukas-Albanese! You my friend, are perambulating the circumference of veracity.
Kristoff Lukas December 17, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Ms. Gumowitz. I’ll address issues and not engage in personal insults. That depletes intellectual debates and solutions. On the “Round Up” issue you reference of pesticides and herbicides not yet used by FASNY on a not yet constructed and approved FASNY project, apparently that never was an environmental issue until FASNY. No community or organization ever opposed the volatile chemicals used on the Ridgeway golf course for over 20 years. All pesticide usage regulated by state DEC and EPA laws. Interesting you site that as another FASNY Eco-Neighbors obstacle. Wetlands also never became an environmental issue or concern (political) obstacle on the Ridgeway golf course again until FASNY arrived. Your traffic issue has and will continue to be addressed through the inundated taxpayer city council studies costing me in my pockets. The city council has hired more then enough taxpayer supported professionals to evaluate and mitigate that civil engineering task. Just like they did for City Center in downtown White Plains traffic studies. Apparently you have an over all personal opposition to private schools (free enterprise) offering educational opportunities and choices to our children and citizens in White Plains. “We have enough” Really is your personal opinion the justification to deny unique higher educational institutions opportunities not just to our residential public school children but to all children in White Plains. Thank the powers to be and our Founding Fathers and Sisters they created a never-ending work in progress. Our Democracy, our right to choices, opportunities, and freedoms to do so and not be limited and mentally incarcerated by the personal dislikes of individuals and opinions. My apology, I said I would not engage. The city council has dug this FASNY mess so deep they have buried any opportunity to find a reasonable legitimate solution to resolve any issue on FASNY. Other then a taxpayer multi-million dollar litigation suit we will pay for against the city, and lose. FASNY will move forward as the only solution. Carl Albanese
Ellen December 17, 2013 at 11:31 PM
Carl, so many of your facts are incorrect I really do not know where to begin, so I will just hit on a few. First, for the last 5 years in operation ridgeway was in fact using certified green technology to maintain the course. They were not required to do so and it was their right to maintain the grounds as a golf course as that it what they were operating under special permit. Second, not only does FASNY plan on killing off what greens are there now with Round up but I witnessed their ground keepers using roundup on the property less then 75 feet from my property line. Within twenty four hours everything they sprayed was dead. I secured video which I forwarded to the mayor and council. Third. If you were paying attention and took the time to review any of the documents submitted by FASNY (DEIS, FEIS, FINDINGS) you would know FASNY is not donating anything to the city. They are maintaining ownership of this so called Conservancy which is no longer 80 acres and really only parcels B and C which is more like 30. To add insult FASNY now says the property can be used only for educational use. Forth, no one is opposed to private schools, what I am oppose to is a very rich private business coming into a. Residential area and destroying it for their own personal gain while hiding behind this "gift" of a conservancy and pretending its only for the children. Carl, you are wrong, a private school can not just do what they want on an environmentally sensitive property. They are Seqra rules that need to be followed. What nonsense. If you had it your way you would allow them to come in and develop what ever they want regardless. Why do you think we have zoning Carl? It's to protect neighborhoods and to stop commercial creep. But what is this really all about Carl? When you decided to run for council last election you sent me an email asking that we join forces...you know, the anti FASNY group with your run against the incumbents. I did not respond tp you for several reasons but mostly because I felt you were insincere. Your tread of comments here proves my point. I can only request that before you continue with comment on the issues regarding FASNY, check your facts.
AMC December 17, 2013 at 11:51 PM
FASNY lumbers through the SEQRA process while politicians pay homage to the 'process'. Teflon FASNY was dealt a blow, albeit a small one, last week when the Common Council inexplicably cancelled the vote on the environmental findings report. The findings were an embarrassing, confusing mash of legalize, central-planning double speak and sheer ineptitude that would never be acceptable in the private sector. Vigilant citizens have spent countless hours pouring over inches of boilerplate FASNY documents: pDEIS, DEIS, pFEIS, FEIS and the city's disgraceful environmental findings report revealing the obvious truth. This development is too BIG for the site and does not FIT. There is no good way into or out of the site. A simple analogy: woman falls in love with an expensive dress (that's on sale) but it's not the right size, buys the dress on a whim, spends a fortune tailoring it but ,alas, it never fits. Sound familiar. It does not FIT. Period. It has nothing to do with school choice or French students. It does not FIT.
Kristoff Lukas December 18, 2013 at 03:06 PM
When ya all get done with personal issues, here is the wake up coffee that will be served to suit some. December 18, 2013 Traffic Litigation – The Legal Precedent The church filed a lawsuit against the town in 2003 after continued delays. The suit outlined town officials directing Greenburgh to identify methods to delay or deny the application. Officials cited traffic as their main area of concern with the proposal, though several elected members publicly stated they did not like taking the property off of the tax rolls by having a tax-exempt church on the grounds. The town of Greenburgh has reached a $6.5 million settlement with Fortress Bible Church, a Pentecostal congregation seeking to build a church and school on Pomander Drive. The deal, approved by the Town Board at its Monday meeting, ends a lengthy legal battle in which Fortress said its constitutional rights were violated by the town. The area on Pomander Drive was a mixed use area and the structure was compliant with local zoning codes, but the town dragged its feet on approving the application. Officials cited traffic as their main area of concern with the proposal, though several elected members publicly stated they did not like taking the property off of the tax rolls by having a tax-exempt church on the grounds.
Eve Kunstler December 18, 2013 at 03:51 PM
Newsflash: Religious land use is protected under the law, as are public schools. Private for profit schools do not fall under this heading.
Kristoff Lukas December 18, 2013 at 03:58 PM
I would invite you to send that legal law - precedent to WP corporation counsel and post the laws, cite some legal case law and post it. Let the Common Council know of such legal grounds. I'm sure they have no concept of it based on past history and cases the city has lost in a court of law.
Ellen December 18, 2013 at 05:59 PM
There is absolutely no comparison with the Greenburg case to what is going on here Carl. Did you know that Zarin's firm represented the neighborhood association in Tarrytown who was fighting an expansion of a school. Zarins partner testified (I have the transcript) that you absolutely can say no to a school when the project is more objectionable then what the area is zoned for. He won that debate Carl. Wouldn't it be ridiculous to thing that a school could develop a campus as big and as intrusive and as dangerous to its surroundings without any restrictions because it is a school???
Dan Seidel December 19, 2013 at 11:11 AM
Carl: the Greenburgh case is under a specific law application to religious institution:RILUPA. Private schools do not fall under that law. The Cornell case oft times cited to does NOT stand for what Zarin et al claim. Do not be snowed - read the case. Lots of six blind men and the elephant going on lately. read the cases.
Dan Seidel December 19, 2013 at 11:16 AM
Valetin the "grounds keeper" uses RoundUp sprayed right from a can - he does the sand traps and kills everything. It's an application of a dangerous herbicide that is being used in the Mamaroneck River Drainage Basin, which feeds the EMERGENCY WATER SUPPLY FOR MAMARONECK!!!!!! here's the rub: the County uses Roundup for invasives/weed control in Saxon Woods where we plant trees, etc. The County does not like using it, but has no real alternative. The stuff is an endocrine disrupter and is documented in harming humans and fish. FASNY should NOT be allowed to use that hormone disrupter. This part of FASNY's war on women and children in the area.
Dan Seidel December 19, 2013 at 11:20 AM
PPS: ANY lawsuit, whether from FASNY or from the citizens will not cost, save for the paperwork. It's a simple request to the Court to either say everything is ok: proceed or everything is NOT ok: do it again. So far FASNY can claim no $$$ damages. The Citizens can't claim $$$ damages either at this point (save for those trying to sell homes and the prices are lowered because of the School - and they get it in writing from appraisers and potential buyers who backed out.) There will be no million dollar awards to anyone. Article 78s are mandamus actions.
Kristoff Lukas December 19, 2013 at 11:26 AM
Danny, concur. My only point is that (opinion) FASNY can and only have three outcomes. 1 FASNY gets denied (not likely) 2 FASNY gets approved 3 TAXPAYERS GO TO COURT (FASNY DENIED) POINT BEING, THIS CITY COMMON COUNCIL CIRCUS IS LIKEY TO END UP IN COURT. AGAIN POINT BEING ANOTHER LONG DRAGGED OUT POLITICAL DELY PROCESS. Costing us! The Common Council had more then enough time, studies, citizens taxpayers dollars spent to make a decision, either way and move on with this political circus. It's costing all of us money. Deny the FASNY petition, or approve the FASNY petition. My point again the City Council hasn't the leadership to do so. We all know the games being played here behind the costumes and make up. Enough is enough for your community!!!! Carl Albanese
Kristoff Lukas December 19, 2013 at 11:33 AM
Danny, It's the taxpayer "PAYOUT" to FASNY if the clowns lose the litigation. And that will be costly to all of us. How many years will this brew in the courts? The wasteful way the city council spends our Monopoly money on outside legal retention, studies? Common Dan, you know exactly what goes on at City Circus.
Dan Seidel December 19, 2013 at 12:10 PM
It's an article 78 - the matter is usually decided in weeks, if not a month or two. The papers are basically cut and paste - the record speaks for itself - it's all PDF'ed already. Silverberg is on retainer - he's already been paid. IF FASNY gets their Special Permit, we all lose - the infrastructure costs to WHITE PLAINS taxpayers will be enormous. Already the water rates went up because of all the loser development in this town. We are much better off WITHOUT ANYMORE DEVELOPMENT - AT ALL
Dan Seidel December 19, 2013 at 12:17 PM
NO ONE can point to #s showing we are doing better - net - after all these quality of life killing projects. We still raise taxes on an avg of 7% EVERY YEAR for the past 30. FASNY will be using over 250,000 gallons of water DAILY - know what that will do to our water charges - again - from NYC? up, up, up. Then new sewers and stormdrains (old county lines not able to handle what we have); then there is the new water treatment plant that Mam'k River Valley Sewer Distr residents pay for - I am one of them. The school will only add pollutants and again, we pay more. Soot, dust, lights from the school yards and access roadways, salt on the roads, noise at 5:30 a.m. when the schools open - it's all horse manure. what gain to you? NONE! so why allow it? it's a neighborhood killer - like an asteroid hit. I'll probably profit when a WP school kid gets hit by a FASNY parent car. You think WP can take anymore of this nonsense? c'mon..... wait for the minarets.
Dan Seidel December 19, 2013 at 12:19 PM
Is it Friday yet?
Kristoff Lukas December 19, 2013 at 12:40 PM
WOW, LETS HOPE NO KID EVER GETS HIT BY A CAR, BUT WE CAN ALWAYS DEPEND ON THE CITY COUNCIL TO HIT US ALL THE TIME IN OUR POCKETS, TO SUPPORT THEIR FRIENDLY SPENDING. THE BIGGEST TAX (TAXPAYER) EXPENSE WE HAVE (CITIZENS) EVERY YEAR IS THE CITY COUNCIL'S DECISIONS OR LACK OF. CARL
patrick ormond December 20, 2013 at 12:03 PM
The French School will be a reality. Those that oppose the education of our children should think again. We thank the City Council who are enlightened and will serve the cause of our education and our children. They are very well respected.
Ellen December 20, 2013 at 12:46 PM
Patrick....don't count your chickens before they are hatched my friend. You have been able to buy one council person...lets see how many of those hoops you will be able to jump through. BTW, opposed to education of our children????? you mean you are NOT educating them right now? Come on Pat.

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