WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- After the Gedney neighborhood raised concerns about someone living in the former Ridgeway golf course clubhouse, the French-American School of New York (FASNY) confirmed that the golf course's former maintenance employee accepted an invitation to stay on and tend the grounds.
FASNY's aims to build a $60 million campus on Ridgeway, but has just begun the application process for a special permit. Without the permit, Senior Advisor to the Mayor Karen Pasquale says the city doesn't believe zoning allows for overnight guests on the property.
"I do not believe that it would be in compliance with zoning," Pasquale said of someone living in the clubhouse. "The city is aware of it and we've been talking to FASNY and their attorneys. So, we're hoping to resolve that."
Geoff Thompson, a press representative for FASNY, said the school argues that the maintenance employee is legally living in the clubhouse.
The private school worries there may be negative consequences for not having a constant security presence on the property. They "kept on" the maintenance worker because he was well liked by neighbors and could serve as a safety precaution, according to Thompson.
"Were constantly looking at that property and doing the very best we can to make sure that it is maintained to a decent, reasonable standard and that the security is as good as we can provide there. Its not in anybodys best interest to have the property be in an abandoned state," Thompson said. "So we have a guy that knows it, understands it, and cares about it. Thats not a bad thing."
The Gedney Association is concerned that if FASNY violates zoning the school may not abide by other White Plains rules, according to Terence Guerriere, the neighborhood association's president.
"We would like to see FASNY, or anybody else, obey the rules. If theyre willing to disobey the rules on this then, what else would they be willing to disobey?" said Guerriere. "Wed like to make sure that they understand the rules and act accordingly.
Some in the area, including Bill Romania, say they aren't concerned about a live-in maintenance employee.
"I'd much rather have them [FASNY] managing the course than the golf course. They're much better about dogs," said Romania, a 16-year Gedney resident who said the golf course didn't allow dogs on its grounds.
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