Residents Mixed On FASNY, Proposed Discontinuance Of Hathaway Lane

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Claudia Jaffe talks at a public hearing on the French-American School of New York's proposed 130-acre White Plains campus.
Claudia Jaffe talks at a public hearing on the French-American School of New York's proposed 130-acre White Plains campus. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
Hundreds turned out for the first of three public hearings on the French-American School of New York's proposed campus.
Hundreds turned out for the first of three public hearings on the French-American School of New York's proposed campus. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The French-American School of New York (FASNY) has moved the main entrance for its proposed White Plains campus to North Street at the request of the city, which it says would require the city to discontinue Hathaway Lane from Ridgeway to Gedney Esplanade.

With a North Street entrance, many cars would have to cross Hathaway Lane to get to the Upper School, which would “impact its operation,” according to FASNY’s petition to discontinue the road through a map amendment. 

A public hearing on the petition was held this week, drawing hundreds of residents. 

“The additional land area made available with the discontinuance of Hathaway Lane will allow the FASNY site plan to provide additional setbacks between athletic fields and the western property line…” the petition reads.

In addition to the now 75-foot buffer, closing Hathaway Lane would allow FASNY to further reduce parking spots from 428 to 348 and reduce the size of two parking lots.

“If that portion is closed then FASNY will get more confined in their own area and it will allow the huge portion of the park to be open to the public without being moved here and there,” Hughes O’Csay, who lives on Alden Road, said at a public hearing on the proposed road discontinuance this week.

Frank Amodio lives on Hathaway Lane north of the section that would be discontinued if the petition is approved. He said at the same meeting that the drive from his home to the Ridgeway Firehouse would increase from 1:40 to 3:20.

“Sometimes a few seconds will mean the difference between life and death,” he said.

Others like Claudia Jaffe objected to the closing of a city road for public use.

“I don’t care what’s integral to your plan if your plan is private,” she said.

Bob Meyerson, of Patridge Road, said if FASNY wants to close the road they should have to pay for it.

“It doesn’t benefit us to close it. It only benefits them,” he said.

Phil McGovern, who lives near the German School, said those who cut through Hathaway Lane now, like himself, will take another way if it is discontinued, which he said would be a positive for residents of that roadway.

Like many speakers in favor of the plan at the meeting, he said the city cannot pass up the 78 acres FASNY has proposed to set aside as a public conservancy.

Check back with Daily Voice to read what residents had to say about FASNY's proposed conservancy. 

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Comments (11)

Underground parking, Sandra? You mean where all those underground streams are located? That would be an engineering feat. And daddyo, there is nothing illegal in turning this giant campus down. There is nothing illegal in preserving neighborhood character (it is, after all, what many of the council members and the mayor himself, campaigned on). Just because YOU are fine with large developments in your neighborhood does not give you the right to impose your lack of taste on others. It's not a matter of discomfort due to change. It is zoned for single family homes, which would net the city upwards of $1.5 mill. per year in taxes. FASNY = $0.

White Plains does not depend on property taxes but sales taxes to pay for amenities. Many streets in the city closed for development and others became one way. Other roadways were created. People should do their homework! I am certain this school will eventually open or their will be a law suit. I would like to see a gate put in at entrance that only allows buses and employees to enter at peak times. I would like to see the parking to go underground below the structures. There would be less snow plowing on the property and no unattractive parking lots. Or they could do lots like the County Center did with ponds and trees.

The majority of White Plains residents do not oppose FASNY. The opponents tried to get their chief spokesperson elected to the Common Council and he lost by a good margin to a new and relatively unknown candidate. It's time that WP stopped giving veto power on new projects to vocal minorities based on how loud they complain, and that elected officials stop kowtowing to them. Who remembers the naysayers who said that the SHORE housing some years ago would destroy their neighborhood? I live near there, and last I checked the community is just fine.

As someone who loves our public schools, I think that having another vibrant private school there only enhances WP's image as a city for quality education. As I heard someone say recently "It's a school, not a house of ill repute." I've heard no feasible alternative for the site put forward, and having it empty does not enhance anyone's quality of life.

Those who worry about the expense should think about who will bear the cost if the City illegally turns down the FASNY plan, and they sue (which I would do if I were them) and win. How loudly did you all complain about the perks that Cappelli got for his projects? I'm sorry for your discomfort at the thought of change, but it's what life is about these days. I don't recall anyone asking me if I wanted Walmart in downtown WP, but there it is, and as I much as many of us despise them, we have to live with it.

Let me point out four areas of disagreement:
1) You write “if the City illegally turns down the FASNY plan (and FASNY) will sue,” but do you realize that FASNY expects to be given a city street for free? The city clearly has no obligation to FASNY.
2) You seem to be critical of the “perks that Cappelli got for his projects” (referring the White Plains commercial builder Cappelli). Yet you seem to be in favor of a really big perk here--that FASNY be given a city street for free.
3) You say that the majority of White Plains residents support the FASNY proposal, but that is merely an opinion. I do feel if you phrase the question thusly that WP residents would not support FASNY: do WP residents support replacing a tax-paying enterprise (the bankrupt golf course) with a tax free enterprise (FASNY)? The answer is likely no because it’s taking tax-paying commercial property off the tax rolls, which pushes a bigger tax burden on homeowners.
4) Wal-Mart is an "it" and not a "them" as you write.

A woman sitting in front of me and wearing a pro FASNY sticker said she had no affiliation to the school. She works at David Lerner Associates and was asked by her boss to attend the hearing and support the school. Bizarre!

A woman sitting in front of me and wearing a pro FASNY sticker said she had no affiliation to the school. She works at David Lerner Associates and was asked by her boss to attend the hearing and support the school. Bizarre!

Among the many objections voiced is that the prior occupant, Ridgeway Country Club, paid taxes while FASNY will not. In addition, FASNY will tear down a house on North Street to provide access to the campus, removing another property from the tax rolls. The city will lose tax money and is close to giving a road to FASNY for FREE. How does this benefit White Plains taxpayers?

FASNY is not planning to tear down the North St. house. It plans to use it for administrative staff. The driveway will curve past the northern edge of the house. That driveway, at 7,000 feet, is more than one-half mile long and will cut right through the "Conservancy." As for lost taxes, there is no benefit to
White Plains taxpayers, just more money sucked out of our wallets to help pay for police, fire, and other services for this private school. FASNY says there is an offset because FASNY parents who buy homes in White Plains will be paying school taxes but the school district won't be educating their children. So, essentially, they are saying it is a gift. What a ridiculous claim. It is one that was shot down long ago not only by residents but by Common Council members. Not every house purchased by a FASNY parent will be occupied by White Plains school children. Many homes, including mine, are occupied by empty nesters, or by families who send their children to private/parochial school. We all pay school taxes.

I have to make a correction. The proposed driveway is 3,000 feet, which is more than one-half mile.

I have to make a correction. The proposed driveway is 3,000 feet, which is more than one-half mile.

Your headline is misleading. Though a minor few residents spoke in favor Fasny, I didn't hear any resident speak in favor of abandoning Hathaway. Both proposals bring us no real benefits with enormous detriments. Wake up White Plains.