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French-American School Loses Vote To Build New Campus In White Plains

White Plains residents at one of many crowded hearings at Common Council chambers during the four years the French-American School of New York proposed building a new campus at the Ridgeway Country Club. FASNY lost by one vote on Wednesday.
White Plains residents at one of many crowded hearings at Common Council chambers during the four years the French-American School of New York proposed building a new campus at the Ridgeway Country Club. FASNY lost by one vote on Wednesday. Photo Credit: File photo

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The French-American School of New York fell one vote short of approval on Wednesday to build a new private K-12 campus on the former Ridgeway Country Club.

After more than four years of revised proposals and debate, the White Plains Common Council, led by Mayor Thomas Roach, cast four votes in favor of FASNY's project, and three against it. However, a "supermajority" of five votes was needed to approve the special permit to allow the new school on the 128-acre site.

FASNY, which operates schools in Scarsdale, Mamaroneck and Larchmont, released a statement afterward saying it will pursue its earlier threat to bring the matter to court. "The rejection of a school, a very well respected one at that, is utterly unreasonable and illegal,'' FASNY said.

“We are deeply disappointed and disturbed by the outcome of tonight’s vote by the White Plains Common Council,'' FASNY said in its prepared statement. "While the Majority on the Council understood that the plan for our school and publicly accessible Open Space Conservancy meets all environmental and legal criteria and has been fully and thoroughly vetted, others sided with a group of neighborhood opponents and rejected the plan. This is the same group of opponents who fought the City when it sought to purchase the property for a municipal golf course and pool.”

“We believe this decision is unsustainable on many grounds. As a result, we will immediately commence legal action in New York State, as well as possibly Federal Court, seeking an overturning of the City Council’s Decision and potential millions of dollars in damages. We are confident that we will prevail, have the right to build the school, and that the rejection of the plan was arbitrary and capricious at best. . . .," FASNY's statement said. "We remain confident that the Court will uphold our plan, and that our school will become an important part of this rich community of White Plains soon.”

Robert Marich, an outspoken critic of the project, said, "FASNY has threatened to sue. . . but what are its damages? The property is probably worth twice what it paid. It can argue time lost, but remember it kept overhauling its proposal."

"It is a great day for White Plains that this inappropriate development is voted down,'' Marich said.

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