Home Education Iona, New Rochelle reach agreement for college expansion following legal dispute

Iona, New Rochelle reach agreement for college expansion following legal dispute

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Bird’s eye view of Iona College

The city of New Rochelle and Iona College reached an agreement at the end of April that will have the school discontinue litigation against the city and allow Iona to move forward with more than $25 million in planned expansions.

The deal, as described by the college in a joint press release with the city on April 21, allows for “the inward expansion of two campus buildings while addressing neighborhood concerns regarding the campus perimeter.”

The agreement comes about a year-and-a-half after Iona College first announced plans for expansion of its Hagan Hall School of Business facility.

Those plans have been on hold amid a land-use dispute between the city and college. Iona sued the city in March 2017, claiming the city had improperly blocked its expansion plans. Iona had claimed that the city misled the public with a confusing notice for a public hearing on the law. The college also accused the city’s corporate counsel, who had once worked for Iona, of unethically using privileged information against the college.

That lawsuit was dismissed by Westchester Supreme Court Acting Justice Susan Cacace in July, who said in its “rush to the courthouse,” the school had failed to exhaust administrative remedies.

The college alleged the city acted improperly when it added an amendment to its city zoning that requires a special permit to merge parcels. The college had planned to merge several parcels on Beechmont Drive and Montgomery Place for the development. Iona sued after the merger was rejected.

The agreement between the city and college addresses the parcel issue. The announcement notes that any future parcel agreements will require a special permit. It also promises an expedited environmental review process for the expansion to Hagan Hall, as well as an additional expansion to Spellman Hall.

The city will also review the environmental impact of all other potential projects on the campus as part of the Hagan Hall review.

In exchange, the college has agreed to discontinue any pending litigation. Iona will also create a “Town-Gown” committee with city and college officials to discuss “shared interests for the community, the college and the city.”

Officials from both institutions praised the deal.

Mayor Noam Bramson said the city wants Iona to be a “thriving college that grows in a fashion consistent with our community’s planning principles and that continues to maintain a mutually respectful and supportive relationship with its neighbors.”

Iona President Joseph E. Nyre added that he was pleased the college could move forward with its expansion plans.

“Seeking input from our neighbors and the community has always been important to the college,” Nyre said. “We remain committed to being good neighbors to our good neighbors.”

The plans for Hagan and Spellman halls are in review by the city’s planning board.

Correction: May 17, 2018

A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the estimated cost for the expansion. It is estimated at more than $25 million, not $17 million.

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