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FASNY Scoping Session, Public Hearing on Moratorium Extension

A preview of Monday's regular and special meeting of the White Plains Common Council.

A public scoping session will be held on the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the to run a school campus at the former Ridgeway Country Club, during a special meeting to be held after the White Plains Common Council’s regular meeting on Monday, Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at .

During the regular meeting, a public hearing and vote will be held on the extension of the City’s moratorium on land use approvals in certain areas.

The moratorium only affects parcels in the R1-12.5 and R1-30 zoning districts that are listed as parkland in the City’s comprehensive plan, and aren’t owned by the City or White Plains School District. The areas include several local golf courses, like the former Ridgeway Country Club and Westchester Hills. 

Click here for a background story on the moratorium. If the law were adopted, the moratorium—which is set to expire on Oct. 17—would be extended until May 17, 2012.

The City decided to impose the moratorium to study the comprehensive plan and land use regulations, and make necessary upgrades. As a result of the study, the City is proposing to create an Open Space Recreation District (OSRED) and implement amendments to its current zoning, land use and environmental regulations. The City will vote on the final scoping document for the (DEIS) regarding the OSRED and related amendments at Monday’s meeting.

Click here to read the full meeting agenda.

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Dan Seidel October 04, 2011 at 11:21 AM
So, instead of whining about things, and making like whiny spoiled children in "occupy wall street", a small group of dedicated Citizens, sat down, quietly, put together a collective brain and submitted legislation - We The People kick started this thing - AMERICA IS A NATION OF LAWS, so we exercise our Rights. This cost a few hundred dollars to start - now look at the firestorm of creativity and discussion as well as FINALLY a HARD LOOK at our AREA AND FUTURE. I say EMINENT DOMAIN is now useful - purely public purpose here, no profit - CONDEMN THE LAND - ALTERNATIVE 6!!! here comes the public comment - include THAT in the scoping document. Give the French their profit and tell them to move on - let's put together a consortium of stakeholders and buy them out! PRESERVE THE MEGA CORRIDOR OPEN SPACES!!!!! PS: Just perfected and filed an appeal for under $1000 - included the $315 filing fee!! maybe I'll make law for the 4th time - or not. I am THAT good!
Dan Seidel October 04, 2011 at 11:29 AM
REVOLUTION 2.1: EXERCISE EMINENT DOMAIN ON RIDGEWAY PROPERTY!!! OCCUPY RIDGEWAY!!!!! NECESSARY ALTERNATIVE IN SCOPING DOCUMENT - EVERYONE SUPPORT!!
Linda J. Eisen October 04, 2011 at 06:18 PM
Support! Trying to understand the millions of dollars that the city is to acrue if and when FASNY gets their way. One comment last night that was so simple and clear made by our Honorable Council woman, Milagros Lecuona, when she asked for more understanding of how they come to the conclusion that we would should they buy our houses get revenue and added taxes. One in and one out, "that's a wash". Someone is thinking, and the FASNY folk seem to think they can confuse and make up all kinds of false claims, in addition, they keep bringing up the shop owner in Larchmont who is going to miss them. Well that's just ridiculous, as I'm sure if they go there now they'll go back. We're not talking another state or miles away. Let's remember they tried to buy Hampshire C.C. in Larchmont, and if Larchmont wanted them so badly there they should havve worked harder to make it happen. I can't forget, what a Realtor friend of mine said re the houses they had on that golf course, and how the prices plummeted! So the gal last evening who said she was a Realtor for 28 years in Larchmont and how there increased property values, that was then, this is now, and the market is bad enough without this added mess. Prices everywhere have gone down, and will probably not recoup for many a year to come. So just as our Honorable Coucil woman mentioned or alluded, these are times when people are renting, especially those who are not going to be here for many years. Why would they buy??
Linda J. Eisen October 04, 2011 at 06:28 PM
They called me Tolstoy as I guess I was writing too much! But I wasn't finished. I know a family who lived in White Plains, sold there house, moved to Swizerland and came back, job related, now they are renting in Larchmont. Sold when the market was at almost a peak and why would they give the money back and buy here. Their kids attend FASNY. Guess if one of the FASNY parents wanted to prove how much they would like to live near the school, I offer them my house for $1.1. Prove it. There are many houses in Gedney right now for sale. So where are you. Why aren't you buying them up? You want to live near the school, now's your chance. Market is just waiting for you to up the comps, turn the wave around.
Linda J. Eisen October 04, 2011 at 06:35 PM
Are you kidding. I think you know how we are feeling and it's growing. People have to get involved and think it through. Better if we had grand homes built in and around us. Less dense and added taxes. Just can't figure out why this group would want to be where they really aren't wanted.
John Raymond October 04, 2011 at 06:54 PM
Isn't Ridgeway zoned Residential? I would think 80-100 newly constructed houses would create less traffic then the proposed school. Also, those houses would pay property taxes. $10,000 tax per house x 100 houses = $1,000,000 in property tax revenue for White Plains! I guess a real estate developer would have to create a conservation easement for the wetlands and some additional buffer. But what makes this land more attractive for a developer is there are already existing roads all throughout the property. 100 houses with 2-3 cars each house would be about 250 extra cars. Less traffic I think....
Linda J. Eisen October 04, 2011 at 06:59 PM
EXACTLY. WISH THE REST OF THE RESIDENTS WOULD THINK IT THROUGH. It would be nice if it remained open and undeveloped that's the best scenario, but if that's not to be then lovely single family homes. And NO to those who are thinking oh if that were the case she could sell those homes. That's just not nice and wrong!!!!
LOVE MY WP October 05, 2011 at 11:44 AM
Finally a sign that the council members are seeing FASNY's numbers for what they are- contrived and made. When Councilwoman Lecuona said she wanted more specifics to them and that the school taxes paid by a FASNY family would be a wash, I wanted to cheer.
Kristoff Lukas October 05, 2011 at 02:37 PM
Very simple solution to resolve this issue. FASNY gets rejected by the Lead Agency, Common Council, that is the goal is it not ? Permit Denied As one reader expressed, impose new laws. FASNY brings in a developer, residential development, zoned for about 90 new 3/4 acre homes. About 3 years of construction, noise, traffic, perhaps a condo or two with swimming pools, tennis courts, strip parking garages, home exterior lighting. The 90 homes cover the 60 to 70 acre's of now green space, pave over it with roads for the condos and homes, create impervious surfaces. FASNY in 3 years when it's completed overturns the property and walks away with about 40 million in a strong real estate market. City sacrifices 80 free acre's of open public passive green space committed for deeded public recreation use. If I were FASNY, take the money and run, community does not want you here. Build the 90 homes - give the community their desires. Build Residential homes. Perhaps rezone for Senior Citizen Assisted Living Condos like St Agnes Property.
chris October 05, 2011 at 03:31 PM
Kristoff, I see it the same as you. I could very easily see FASNY being forced into the Real Estate business. As a White Plains resident, I prefer to have the FASNY park in my town. But no matter what gets put on that spot, it won't be welcomed by the Gedney neighbors. They can't reach a consensus on what the property should be.
Linda J. Eisen October 05, 2011 at 04:12 PM
I see what you mean with the scare tactics. Most homes have one or two cars and there are plenty of roads right now for residential developement. Construction with developer, construction with FASNY,(wash) noise from developer, noise from FASNY, (again wash),deeded space they can't use anyway, enviornmentally protected, plenty of recreation spots in our city already. Most of all we have and are united and have reached a consensus, we like the open space in our city since having it causes people to want to live here as opposed to the smaller villages and towns. No one seems to understand how few of the new land owners have never wanted to call White Plains, home. The lovely open space called called Baldwin Farms between Woodcrest Heights and Westminster Ridge for instance. I would be very upset to hear that a developer has come in and is going to develope that panoramic open space. This is not just about the Ridgeway property, it's about we have enough density in the city. Some of you just don't get it!
Dan Seidel October 05, 2011 at 06:33 PM
really big water issues, some steep slopes, environmental features/hydric spongy soils and zoning 3/4 acres with buffers, set backs, etc., AND sewer and stormdrain lines criss crossing the property (easements) will only allow between 40-50 homes- MAYBE. Roads, infrastructures - - MAYBE 30-40 homes when all is said and done - gated McMansions. Rather that than a school with 1200 kids, about 450 staff, parking, 2500 daily cars, noise, cars directed through the property coming within about 150 feet of houses, lowered property values (watch the certs!! - joy to the world!), fields need ambulance roads.... anyway houses take less time in construction and will not be built because.....DOUBLE DIP RECESSION AND NO BANK IS LENDING MONEY FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS.....ohhhh. I guess the White Plains owned non profit 4 season educational growing horticultural center with restaurant/eminent domain condemnation sale of development rights (PDR's) idea doesn't float anyone's boat... you are a really unimaginative lot.... a shark and a whale were on a boat....
David October 05, 2011 at 06:57 PM
I don't want to see the school built - HOWEVER- we need to accept that someone will own the land and will have the right to actually use the land. -Could be single family homes, could be something else. -The city has NO business buying or using eminent domain. the last thing the city needs is ANOTHER expense. -If the city is in the busines of taking over available land to keep empty space and great views for homeowners, I would like them to buy, or takeover, the 2 or 3 houses next door to me and bulldoze them into open space. My views would be great!
Dan Seidel October 05, 2011 at 07:13 PM
From what I have heard, there are ready buyers out there for a golf course use. Anyway, you really think the environmental issues are all fake? You really think this is all about views? Where have you been? What are you not listening to? this is like those litttle cartoon spoofs that are going around where one little being talks and the other hears not but drones on about slogans and phrases. Can you comprehend the flood issues? the storm drain issues? the $235,000,000.00 settlement JUST FOR THE MAMRONECK RIVER SEWER DISTRICT for the upgrade of the treatment plant into the sound and reduction of nitrogen load? Everyone in the district pays additional county sewer taxes -ONLY THOSE IN THIS DISTRICT. Why must development occur? Why not say no? THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!!! This: "either a school or houses" thinking is truly nauseating!
John Raymond October 09, 2011 at 03:16 PM
A couple of Ridgeway neighbors are talking about not having FASNY in "their backyard." Last time I checked the 128 acres ARE FASNY's backyard! The land is privately owned - it was owned and deeded to Ridgeway Country Club and FASNY bought it and now legally owns that deeded land. "Your backyard" is the land you actually own. So here's an idea: get the Gedney Association to get each adjacent homeowner to put down a non-refundable deposit of 20% of the projected purchase price of your share of your "new backyard". If each homeowner puts up say $200,000 cash, then the Gedney Association could pool an attractive enough offer to legally re-purchase the land back from its current legal owner, FASNY. Perhaps, non-adjacent neighbors would want to kick in a little bit of cash to help make this plan happen. Perhaps also, everyone would need to contribute a little cash to Terrence Guerriere's campaign fund for election, to make sure he goes along with the plan. Maybe Mr. Guerriere would decline those funds. Make sure we include some extra funds for lawyers and site plan architects, surveying costs, etc. But at the end of it, FASNY may sell the land to the Gedney homeowners instead of to a developer, and then the adjacent homeowners could rightfully and legally have a bigger "back yard." Big problem is how do you get 100+ people to agree???
Joseph October 09, 2011 at 04:16 PM
FASNY will cause a massive increase in traffic, noise, and pollution that FASNY's 1200 students and 250+ staff will cause each and every school day. FASNY's own consultant states that FASNY will increase traffic on Ridgeway by 50%! And this does not include increased traffic by visitors to the so-called Preserve and users of its field, as FASNY conveniently and unlawfully omitted this data from its scoping submission. FASNY's plan to limit access via Ridgeway only and not the interior neighborhood streets is a nightmare for Ridgeway and all surrounding streets. Non-FASNY drivers will simply cut through surrounding streets to avoid massive backups on Ridgeway, when 1,170 motor vehicles enter and leave FASNY twice a day at peak hours. So those who do not live right in the direct line of fire of FASNY should consider the impact on their streets, as FASNY's jamming up of Ridgeway will dissipate onto streets blocks away from FASNY. This is NOT about backyard views, as the above comment suggests. It is about urban planning, the environment, and the fabric and quality of life in a large area of the city. FASNY bought the property knowing it is not entitled to build per current zoning. To suggest that those nearby should now pay FASNY not to destroy the neighborhood is not appropriate, to say the least.
Joan's WP October 10, 2011 at 12:44 AM
Joseph, you are so right about the huge problems FASNY will create. An additional problem about the "preserve" is where visitors would park. Will FASNY offer their parking lots? Will visitors park on the side of the narrow, two-lane roads in the neighborhood? I wish people who are so free with their negative comments about Gedney Farms would take the time to learn the facts and not make superficial, off-the-cuff remarks. Each side has something to lose. My observation is that The Gedney Assn. has been up-front about the issues. However, FASNY has a public relations team that is spinning themselves into whiplash. And the economic analysis provided by FASNY is unproveable -- fantasy numbers geared to persuade people to their cause. If they were able to build on their current timetable, these alleged benefits would not kick in at the levels they are projecting until the year 2025. That is 14 years from now. They don't mention that in the literature they have been distributing. Very disengenuous.
John Raymond December 04, 2011 at 02:20 AM
it seems clear what the vocal minority is against - FASNO what are they for?
Dan Seidel December 04, 2011 at 02:57 AM
John, Go to the City website and review all the written comments for both the moratorium and the DEIS Scoping on the French School. To recite them again here would be pointless - they are already written in first person and paraphrasing would do no good. You will then get very good, detailed analyses and proposals by the FASNO groups. But you have to do the hard part - read. It's all written down for you.

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