GEDNEY ASSOCIATION FEARS WEDNESDAY SPECIAL MEETING ON FASNY IS CALLED FOR FINAL VOTE .

WPCNR COMMON COUNCIL CHRONICLE-EXAMINER. SPECIAL TO WPCNR. JULY 31, 2015 UPDATED SATURDAY AUGUST 1, 8 A.M.:

An agenda for a Special Meeting of the Common Council has been posted on the City of White Plains website late Friday.

The agenda may be seen right here and appears to be calling the question on a Resolution to approve closure of Hathaway Lane and approval of a Special Permit for the French American School of New York. This meeting would come two days after the regular Common Council meeting on Monday and begin at 7 P.M. Wednesday evening. The agenda:

http://www.cityofwhiteplains.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/08052015-371
The Gedney Association, reacting this morning has sent out an e-mail message declaring this is the “Final Vote” on FASNY
WPCNR sent an e-mail to White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach asking about the nature of the meeting, if a vote is planned,  whether discussion is planned for the meeting, if The French American School of New York will speak to issues raised by the Mayor himself in the June 29 Meeting on FASNY on the impact of longterm construction; Councilman John Martin’s being troubled by the closing of Hathaway Lane; Councilwoman Nadine Hunt-Robinson’s concern that the mitigation outlined by the resolution does not make the neighborhood impact worse than if the project was not built; and the numerous objections of Councilwoman Milagros Lecuona and Councilman Dennis Krolian.
WPCNR also asked the Mayor if Susan Habel, the major consultant for the city on the project will speak on the matter; if the matter can be tabled; if the question will be called for a vote.The Gedney Association is issued this e-mail this morning:

The Common Council has scheduled a Special Meeting to vote on the FASNY application for Wednesday, August 5th at 7:00 PM.   This is a critical Meeting in which we can expect a decision on the application after 5 long years.  We urge you to attend this meeting and arrive early to make sure our supporters are able to be present in the Council meeting room.

The Gedney Association

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LAGUARDIA, THE FIREMAN’S PLEA, LENNAR’S DESIGN FOR NEW WP PAVILION, THE LIQUOR AUTHORITY CITES 3 POPULAR WP BARS ON WHITE PLAINS WEEK MONDAY AT 7 AND ON THE INTERNET


WhitePlainsWeekkeysign

TONIGHT

WESTCHESTER’S UNIQUE NEWSTALK PROGRAM

15 YEARS OF TELLING IT LIKE IT IS

 7:00 MONDAY  FIOS CH. 45 COUNTYWIDE

 CABLEVISION CH. 76 (WHITE PLAINS)

 ON THE INTERNET NOW AT

www.whiteplainsweek.com

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PETER KATZ
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JOHN BAILEY WHITE PLAINS OWN  CITIZENETREPORTER

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FIREFIGHTER PLEADS GUILTY TO VEHICULAR HOMICIDE

STATE LIQUOR AUTHORITY FINES 3 WELL-KNOWN WHITE PLAINS BARS

PETER KATZ ANALYZES THE GOVERNOR’S LAGUARDIA AIRPORT TERMINAL PROJECT–VIDEO OF WHAT TAS K FORCE PROPOSES.

LENNAR UNVEILS ITS VISION TO REBUILD WHITE PLAINS PAVILION– EXCLUSIVE PHOTOGRAPHS

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 ONE OF WESTCHESTER COUNTY’S LEADING ALLERGISTS ON THE WORST POLLEN SEASON EVER AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT it

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WESTCHESTER COUNTY’S MOST RELEVANT INTERVIEW PROGRAM

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THE REBROADCAST OF THE DR.JILLIAN HOCHFELDER INTERVIEW

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LCOR GETS ITS FINANCING FROM WELLS FARGO–PREPARES TO GET PROJECT ON THE WAY. 710 UNITS PLANNED ON COMMUTER LOT ON BANK STREET

WPCNR QUILL AND EYESHADE. Special to WPCNR  from LCOR JULY 30, 2015:

LCOR, a fully-integrated real estate company specializing in property development, investment and management, has closed on an $80 million construction loan from Wells Fargo for the mixed-use development site located at 55 Bank Street,

. Upon anticipated completion of Phase I in 2017, the property will provide White Plains with a dynamic mix of premier residential and retail space that further evolves and extends this walkable community.

LCOR plans to develop the land at 55 Bank Street into an impressive mixed-use property in two phases.

Phase I will consist of a 16-story, 288-unit leading rental building with 3,000 square-feet of ground floor retail space and 381 underground parking spaces.

Phase II will include a 16-story, 273-unit full-service, rental building with 3,350 square-feet of ground floor retail space and the balance of the underground and above grade parking, for a  total of 570 parking spaces. Of the 561-units, 20 percent have been designated as workforce housing.

“Located in the center of White Plains, 55 Bank Street provides LCOR with an extraordinary opportunity to redevelop an area that was underutilized but will now provide the city with substantial residential and retail offerings,” said James Driscoll, Senior Vice President of LCOR. “The site location is ideal for creating a successful transit oriented development that will further advance the Westside of White Plains into an invigorating walkable community.”

Upon completion, 55 Bank Street will feature a mix of luxury studio, one- and two-bedroom apartment homes. Residents will have exclusive access to a host of first-class amenities that will serve as an extension of their home.

Amenities will include a stunning sky lounge complete with a clubroom, private dining room and outdoor deck featuring barbeque grills and additional seating. A landscaped area for outdoor recreation can be enjoyed on the mezzanine level, along with the swimming pool and fire pit.

Additional amenities include a distinguished resident’s lounge, cyber café and business center, billiards lounge, children’s playroom and state-of-the-art fitness center.

(Editor’s Note: The project is getting on the way 8 years after its approval in 2007, in the Delfino administration in White Plains. The nature and amount of the brownfield clean up program involving the Bank Street commuter lot where the project will be built reimbusements has been asked about by WPCNR, and I await the answer.

Kyle Walker speaking for LCOR, said the exact time frame for the start of construction has not been determined yet by the team, but he is checking on it. He also was checking on when the commuter parking lot will officially close.)

55 Bank Street will also feature a full-service lobby with concierge service and shared parking garage that extends 200 parking spaces to White Plains commuters. The building is slated for LEED Silver certification.

Both the City of White Plains and the Westchester County IDA took important roles in helping 55 Bank Street to come to fruition. The creation of the Bank Street Redevelopment Area, by the City of White Plains, allowed LCOR to develop the northern portion of the redevelopment area into the adjacent 502-unit Bank Street Commons residential and retail complex in 2004.

In 2010, LCOR purchased the former municipal parking lot, now home to 55 Bank Street, from the City with the goal of redeveloping the land into a mixed-use community on the southern portion of the redevelopment area. The Westchester County IDA created numerous incentive programs to allow large TOD projects to be developed in these areas, including a PILOT program, a Sales Tax Exemption, and Relief from the Mortgage Recording Tax.

As part of LCOR’s mission to revitalize the area around 55 Bank Street, the project site is part of the NYS Brownfield Cleanup Program.
(Editor’s Note: The project is getting on the way 8 years after its approval in 2007, in the Delfino administration in White Plains. The nature and amount of the brownfield clean up program involving the Bank Street commuter lot where the project will be built reimbusements has been asked about by WPCNR, and I await the answer.

Kyle Walker speaking for LCOR, said the exact time frame for the start of construction has not been determined yet by the team, but he is checking on it. He also was checking on when the commuter parking lot will officially close.)

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Does PETS ALIVE Restrictive Covenant Have an Impact on the FASNY? Reader says it Should

WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. JULY 29, 2015:

To: Hon. Mayor Roach and Hon. Common Council Members  
 
Legal or illegal?  FASNY’s plan to build a school on the former Ridgeway Country Club property would breach the restrictive covenant in the deed filed in 1925 (Gedney Farm Co. sold the property to Gedney Farm Golf Club.  RCC bought the golf club in 1952).  In fact, it is possible that the sale to FASNY by RCC was itself a breach.
The restrictive covenant, which runs with the land in perpetuity, allows only a golf course or single family residences on the property, no matter who owns it.  Special Permit or no Special Permit, a school is an illegal use of the property and RCC sold to a school planning to build a regional school campus, not run a golf course or build single family residences.
I am revisiting the issue of restrictive covenants because of an event last week which places the spotlight on this issue as it relates to Pets Alive in Elmsford. The issue was raised by Town of Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner with respect to the decision by Pets Alive to close its animal shelter in Elmsford and move the animals to its main location in Middletown, NY. The predecessor of Pets Alive, Elmsford Animal Shelter/ Central Westchester Humane Society, needed a larger space to house its overcrowded shelter in Greenburgh.
 Efforts began in the 1980′s’ to find a suitable location.  Paul Feiner, who was not yet Supervisor, was heavily involved in this effort. The shelter was eventually built on donated property in Elmsford resulting from a land swap between Greenburgh and Westchester County. The surprise announcement of the plan to close the Pets Alive shelter and sell the property caused immediate outrage by Feiner and animal advocates. The Greenburgh Town Board held an emergency meeting on 7/22/15 to discuss ways to save the animal shelter. According to Feiner, “Inasmuch as the land was donated for the sole purpose of being used as a no kill animal shelter — I do not believe that Pets Alive should be able to keep the land if they are not going to use the land for a shelter.”
Because Greenburgh was so heavily involved in helping the shelter get the land donated to them, prior to the meeting, Feiner asked the Town Attorney to review the deed to determine if the town has any rights.  The original animal shelter did not pay for the property and Pets Alive only paid $10 for it when it took over several years ago.
 A deed restriction was discovered stating that “the grantee, its successors and assigns shall use the said premises solely and exclusively for park, recreational, or general municipal purposes or as an animal shelter in perpetuity.”  As a result, Pets Alive will not be able to sell the property to a commercial developer, according to Feiner.  It is Feiner’s belief that Pets Alive hoped to sell the property for three to four million dollars.
Which brings me back to FASNY.  While the Pets Alive desire to sell and the Ridgeway Country Club sale to FASNY are not the same, (except that lack of money was the underlying issue) what has bearing here is that both properties have a restrictive covenant which runs with the land in perpetuity.  The restrictive covenant is binding on future title holders of the property.
We know that the deed for the golf course property prohibits the use of the property for anything but a golf course (which was its sole use through 2010) or single family residences (but not permitted before 1940), in perpetuity.  From my research, I have learned that an original seller/developer who imposed a restrictive covenant could grant “retrospective consent”  to get around the problem of the restrictive covenant, if requested.
 Otherwise, if the terms are ignored the property owner is in breach.  Can anyone show that RCC or its predecessor made such a request and so changed the terms of the restrictive covenant?  Would a successful golf course make such a request?  I think not. And if RCC thought about it as its financial situation deteriorated, who would it call, The Long Island  Medium in hopes of speaking with the long dead seller?
RCC knew that FASNY didn’t plan to operate a golf course or build single family residences but planned to build a school. It doesn’t matter whether or not RCC didn’t know or didn’t care about the restrictive covenant. It was still legally in force.  But FASNY should have known that a school was prohibited because a deed search would have uncovered the restrictive covenant.  I cannot believe that FASNY’s attorney didn’t research the original deed for encumbrances.
Howard Willets, the owner of Gedney Farm, sold the property which was developed into the golf course,  The golf course was on four non-contiguous parcels, bisected by local streets, and so was integral to the developing community.
Willets, the founder and first president of The Gedney Association, was now actively subdividing his property for development of single family residences, many of which abutted the four golf course parcels.
The restrictive covenant was meant to protect the newly subdivided properties by maintaining their values and the character of the attractive and sought after neighborhood  –  both then and  in the future. Today, at least 115 homes abut this property and many more are on nearby streets.
The surrounding properties in particular would be harmed by a breach.
So I ask again, does this mean that the Ridgeway Country Club sale to FASNY was illegal?  Certainly what FASNY wants to build is illegal under the terms of the 90-year-old deed’s restrictive covenant.   Doesn’t the Pets Alive situation underscore the argument that the restrictive covenant on the former golf course lives and cannot be violated, even if the seller or buyer didn’t know or care?
 And furthermore, how can a new restrictive covenant in perpetuity for the “Conservancy” supersede the existing restrictive covenant in perpetuity for the entire property?  And being the creator of a new restrictive covenant that runs with the land in perpetuity, what is to stop FASNY from ignoring or changing the terms to be more favorable to whatever future plans it has?   That is a loophole you can drive a a truck through.
Respectfully,
Ellen Alzerez
White Plains NY
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Photograph of the Night

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The Waxing Gibbous Moon rising tonight over White Plains New York USA a harbinger of August and illuminating the sky with the orange glow of the lazy setting sun.
The Moon today is in a Waxing Gibbous phase. This phase is when the moon is more than 50% illuminated but not yet a Full Moon. The phase lasts round 7 days with the moon becoming more illuminated each day until the Full Moon. During a Waxing Gibbous the moon will rise in the east in mid-afternoon and will be high in the eastern sky at sunset. The moon is then visible though most of the night sky setting a few hour before sunrise. The word Gibbous first appeared in the 14th century and has it’s roots in the Latin word “gibbosus” meaning humpbacked

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New Vision of White Plains Pavilion Unveiled by Lennar Corporation: 707 Apartments in Two Towers, Swimming Pools on the Roof.

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Perkins Eastman rendering of the new apartment and retail complex present by Maple and Broadway LLC, subsidiary of Lunnar Corporation to the Common Council Monday evening.. This aerial view is looking northeastl. Maple Avenue is street on the right. South Broadway is in the foreground.

WPCNR EAST SIDE STORY. Special to WPCNR from Jim Benerofe. July 27, 2015:

At the Common Council Special Meeting Monday evening, Maple & Broadway LLC, subsidiary of Lennar Corporation,  the second in the nation builder of family housing communities, unvieled their vision for replacement of the White Plains Pavilion Mall, should they close on the property.

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View of the Lunnar proposal looking northwest. The Crowne Plaza is in the right of the picture. Maple Avenue is on the left, where it curves onto South Broadway. Hale Avenue is the street in the front of the picture.

Jim Benerofe of suburbanstreet.com told WPCNR that the giant developer plans a rental housing development consisting of two apartment towers of 24 stories, with a total of 707 rental units, 70 or 10% of them at “affordable housing” rates and the rest (631) at market rates.

Benerofe said price points were not brought up. He said that a principal of the Lennar subsidary at the meeting said there was to be 85,000 square feet of retain and would consist of a majority of new restaurants. There would be separate parking for residents and retail patrons.

A feature Benerofe said included two swimming pools on each top floor of the two buildings.

Benerofe noted the proposal “makes a lot of street sense” compared to the original Urstadt Biddle proposal. Urstadt-Biddle of Stamford sold the property to Lennar this month. Retail will be on the streets of Maple and Broadway with the apartments being on the interior. The previous project had retail on the street, and inside the complex and contailed a hotel and apartments.

The proposal will be presented to the Common Council next Monday, August 3 in a televised meeting. Councilpersons Dennis Krolian and James Kirkpatrick were not present.

In announcing the proposed acquisition in May Urstadt Biddle said in a news release:

” In November 2014, the City of White Plains approved the Company’s request to change the zoning of the property to allow its development as a mixed-use property containing residential apartments above ground level retail and restaurant uses. The contract contains several contingencies that need to be satisfied in order for the transaction to close, and there is the possibility it may not close.”

 

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COMPTROLLER: STATE SALES TAX RECEIPTS DECLINED 1.8% IN FIRST HALF OF 2015:

 

WPCNR QUILL AND EYESHADE. FROM THE NYS COMPTROLLER’S OFFICE. JULY 26, 2015:

Local sales tax collection growth across New York State slowed to 1.6 percent in the first six months of 2015 from 3 percent growth in 2014 and was considerably lower than the 4.2 percent average annual growth over the past 15 years, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

County sales tax collections, excluding all cities, increased only 0.5 percent for the first six months of 2015, with many counties seeing a decline in their collections.

“There has been a general downward trend in sales tax collection growth over the last several years and that is continuing in 2015,” DiNapoli said. “The slow growth in sales taxes could pose fiscal challenges for local governments across New York, especially for counties who rely heavily on sales tax collections to pay their bills.”

New York City’s sales tax collections grew by $91 million, or 2.7 percent in the first half of 2015, accounting for a substantial part of local sales tax growth statewide. Still, the city’s growth rate fell from a 4.8 percent growth rate for the same period in 2014.

The Capital District had the second strongest sales tax growth in the first half of the year at 2 percent. Western New York was next with 1.5 percent growth.

In contrast, sales tax revenue declined in five of the 10 economic regions of the state, with the sharpest decline being in the North Country, which saw a 2.5 percent drop. Also declining were the Southern Tier (1.2 percent), the Mohawk Valley (1.0 percent), the Finger Lakes (0.4 percent) and the Mid-Hudson region (0.4 percent).

Sales tax collections declined in 33 of the 57 counties outside of New York City from the same period in 2014. The largest decline was in Schoharie County, with a 6.1 percent drop. Allegany, Delaware, Lewis and Montgomery counties also had declines of more than 5 percent. In some cases, these declines were due to technical adjustments, which can have a large impact in counties with relatively small populations and retail sectors.

Of the 24 counties that saw sales collections rise, the strongest growth was 8.8 percent in Steuben County. Ulster County had an increase of 8.4 percent, which was due in part to a rate change.  Hamilton and Washington counties also saw growth rates of more than 6 percent. Technical adjustments can explain some of these increases.

See the report here, or go to:http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/pubs/research/snapshot/localsalestaxcollection0715.pdf

See the County-by-City Table here, or go to: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/pubs/research/snapshot/localsalestaxcollectiontable0715.pdf

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Astorino to Hillary on HUD: Knocking on Clinton’s Door.

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WPCNR HOUSING GO ROUND. From the Westchester Department of Communications. July 26, 2015:

Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino Thursday strongly defended the town of New Castle and Westchester County against federal accusations that it has discriminatory housing policies.

At one point Astorino knocked on Mrs. Clinton’s door to see if she was home.  He gave his phone number to an aide who said Mrs. Clinton would call him back.

Astorino said he wants to ask her whether “she believes the town she lives in is discriminatory, and whether she, as the presumptive Democratic nominee for President, supports the current administration’s radical housing policies.  It would give many of her neighbors in town and throughout the county some comfort to hear her respond ‘no’ and ‘no.’”

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Astorino stood in front of the residence of New Castle’s most famous resident, Hillary Clinton, as he warned that home rule, a power long cherished in New York and which gives localities the ability to pass laws to govern themselves as they see fit, is being threatened by an increasingly abusive and overreaching federal government intent on socially re-engineering America’s suburbs.    

“What’s at stake is who controls the future of our towns, villages and cities across the nation – the people who actually live in them, or unelected bureaucrats operating out of cubicles in Washington,” Astorino said.  “What’s new is that, if changes are not made, local control of your neighborhood is on the way out.”

The U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) wants Westchester County held in contempt of court and fined $60,000 a month, stemming from the reclassification of 28 affordable housing units in the Chappaqua Station development. The fine is based on a fee schedule that’s not included in the settlement.

In December, the Department of Justice said that the 28 units should count towards the 2014 benchmark for financing under the 2009 federal housing settlement, which calls for the building of 750 units of affordable housing in 31 mostly white municipalities.

But seven months later, the DOJ filed legal papers saying the court should pay no attention to the letter, the units shouldn’t count and the county should be held in contempt.

“The federal government’s assault on our local communities in Westchester is dumbfounding, shocking, and counterproductive,” said Astorino.

Astorino said two largely unnoticed events – the Supreme Court’s decision on disparate impact and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) new rules on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing – put unprecedented power in the hands of Washington bureaucrats.

Astorino explained:  “Here’s how it works. HUD decides whether your neighborhood meets the quotas the agency believes represent the proper balance of race, income, education and other demographic features.  If the zip code doesn’t measure up, HUD then prescribes corrective measures, which essentially come down to running roughshod over local zoning so HUD can socially engineer the character of your community to bring it in line with its quotas.”

Long Island Congressman Peter King also criticized HUD’s latest assault on Westchester in a statement:  “When I spoke to Secretary Castro last month, he said that HUD uses ‘mission-driven flexibility to work with communities to meet the goals of programs,’ but there is a clear contradiction between what the Secretary said in his testimony and the actions of HUD’s federal monitor. If the goal is to build affordable housing, then requesting contempt of court orders and seeking penalties is completely counterproductive – the litigation will only slow the process down and make it more difficult in the future for municipalities to provide affordable housing.”

 

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IN 24 HOURS AFTER LEGISLATURE BOYKIN’S EZ PASS SCAM WARNING, WPCNR GETS AN EZ PASS SCAM LETTER

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TWO DAYS AGO COUNTY LEGISLATOR BENJAMIN BOYKIN OF WHITE PLAINS 5TH DISTRICT SENT OUT A RELEASE WARNING OF THIS KIND OF E-Z PASS SCAM.
THURSDAY WPCNR RECEIVED ONE. BOYKIN URGES RESIDENTS RECEIVING SUCH E MAIL TO IGNORE IT AND DO NOT DOWN LOAD THE ATTACHMENT.
WPCNR HAS E-Z PASS, IF YOU OWN SOMETHING E Z PASS CONTACTS YOU BY MAIL, NOT BY EMAIL. IGNORE REQUESTS BY E MAIL.

SEE LEGISLATOR BOYKIN’S NEWS RELEASE BELOW IN THIS NEWS TRAIL

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FEINER REPORTS PROGRESS IN THURSDAY A.M. MEETING WITH PETS ALIVE

PCNR THE FEINER REPORT. From Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner. July 23, 2015:

Greenburgh Councilman Francis Sheehan, Town Attorney Tim Lewis and I had a very constructive meeting with the leadership of Pet’s Alive this morning. Our goal is to work cooperatively to keep the no kill animal shelter open.  Pet’s Alive is holding a Board meeting early next week and we agreed to meet again next Thursday morning –continuing our dialogue.   We discussed the deed restriction on the property which limits development potential on the property. The deed restriction states that the property shall be used “solely and exclusively for park, recreational, or general municipal purposes or as an animal shelter in perpetuity.”

 

Will keep you updated.

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