Home Education French-American School revises plans for White Plains campus

French-American School revises plans for White Plains campus

The French-American School of New York has revised its plans to build a campus on the site of the former Ridgeway Country Club in White Plains.

Submitted Oct. 20 to the Common Council by law firm Zarin & Steinmetz, which has represented the school during the zoning process, the revisions include a reduction in the number of parking spaces, a reduction in the size of the campus buildings, changes to the traffic management plan and enhanced landscaping buffers between the proposed school and the neighborhood.

According to a cover letter sent with the revised plans, the size of the buildings has been reduced by 33,000 square feet by increasing the number of classrooms in the upper school and combining some middle and upper school program uses, thus enabling a reduction in the size of the middle school building.

“We trust that the council members will appreciate the significant and substantial changes to the site plan and special permit applications included in this submission,” said the letter, which was signed by attorney Michael Zarin. “Frankly, some of the changes asked of FASNY were very difficult for the school and its community to accept from a financial and programmatic perspective.”

FASNY also further revised the traffic management plan to include corrective actions to take should the city of White Plains identify more than 500 peak-hour car trips to the school three times in a month. Short-term corrective actions would include increases in student carpooling and public transit use, requiring more students to walk or bicycle to campus and the implementation of shuttle van service. If those plans did not reduce traffic, FASNY would then be required to implement private busing through a contracted vendor and take additional unspecified action.

Modifying the plan to close Hathaway Lane between Ridgeway and Gedney Esplanade, the school has proposed to open a portion of the campus driveway on non-school days, or approximately 196 days per year, to provide alternative emergency vehicle access to the neighborhood. The gate closing the street would also be moved 50 feet south of the property boundary for 57 Hathaway Lane to avoid disturbing that residence.

In addition, the school’s enrollment agreement would detail the traffic management plan to FASNY students’ families and would require that requests for limited exemptions to the mandatory busing plans be made in writing and verified by the school’s administration.

Thirty parking spaces have been eliminated in the plan, as have two outdoor basketball courts. The areas allotted for those uses would instead be green space, and an additional 166 trees would be planted to protect adjoining residences and enhance the character of the property.

“FASNY certainly believes that it has done everything asked of it in good faith to meet the challenges of its school, and the public review process,” the letter concluded. “(FASNY) trusts that a favorable determination on its applications will occur in the very near future.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. FASNY has been trying to force a round peg into a square hole for an agonizing 3 years now. I don’t live in the immediate neighborhood, though I did years ago. There is no reasonable way that their “plan” conforms with any part of the city’s comprehensive plan nor the neighborhood character. Take note that this is not just a “school”. Its size and scope make it the size of a college campus – which – for anyone who is interested – would NEVER be permitted.

    For three years FASNY has bullied and threatened the city council with massive litigation if it doesn’t bend over and accept its ludicrous plan. They claim this as a “right” because they are a school. Since when is a special permit a God-given right? They have ignored or white-washed serious water issues, traffic issue and general safety issues. Bottom line: they simply could care less about the neighborhood and they have a really huge false sense of entitlement so typical of the top 0.1% today. They have spent a fortune on “spin” to make themselves look like they are the aggrieved party. All this has proven is that if someone has a bigger bull-horn their message is heard.

    Its time for them to recognize that they made a mistake and MOVE ON. They made a mistake in purchasing this property. But it should take a rocket scientist to realize that a city named for its swamps (White Plains) might have issues on some of its lowest lying land. You also don’t need to be the sharpest knife in the drawer to realize that something of this size will not conform with winding streets that have no sidewalks. Even though mistakes were made, their timing was good and they have made money on the property. They should sell it and stop the nonsense and count themselves lucky that the real estate market is with them.

  2. Mr. Zarin does have trouble with the truth doesn’t he. The spin has now spun out of control. They have not decreased the size by 30,000 square feet, they put it back to what it originally was for 1200 students, before they tried to sneak in the extra 30,000 square feet. Actually, now that it is 950 students it should be less then what it originally was.

    I live at 57 Hathaway Lane. They did not move the gate 50 feet further from my home. It is considerably closer, in fact, it is directly across from my driveway. I will need to put my blinker on when exiting my driveway and the headlights will be shining directly at my home.

    FASNY is really a terrible group of people who could care less about anyone except themselves.

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