This story has been updated.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Opponents of the proposed French American School of New York (FASNY) have significantly increased their efforts against the project with the formation of Say NO to FASNY, a growing coalition of area civic associations that currently represents more than 2,000 homeowners throughout White Plains.
As part of the opposition effort, the coalition recently launched a new petition drive, website and social media campaign to further spread the word regarding the extensive and far-reaching negative impacts the project would create.
Chief among those impacts are traffic hazards to school children, pedestrians, bikers and motorists as well as drastically increased response time for emergency responders.
One of the project's neighbors said that the Gedney Association and opposition coalition do not speak for him or many others who support the school project and new park: Drew Brennan said, "Their objections have been shown to be baseless. They and other civic organizations' first response is almost universally NIMBY (Not In My Backyard)," Brennan told Daily Voice on Friday. "Area business and professional organizations strongly support FASNY."
Additionally, the "Say NO to FASNY" coalition seeks to raise awareness concerning adverse impacts to the environment and overall quality of life for local residents. A Facebook page titled Say NO to FASNY, Twitter @saynotofasny and website www.saynotofasny.com are among the places where meaningful information about the FASNY project can be found.
“This ill-conceived concept was a terrible idea for White Plains when it was first proposed more than five years ago and remains a terrible idea today,” said John E. Sheehan, president of The Gedney Association, one of a growing list of civic associations opposed to the project. “Residents throughout White Plains are finally recognizing that the FASNY project will negatively impact all of us, not just the south end communities. And as the opposition continues to grow, we hope Mayor Roach and the Common Council hear our united voices and Say NO to FASNY."
According to Sheehan, a very significant current concern involves efforts by FASNY, as part of its recently submitted “Alternative Plan," to have the Common Council de-designate the property on which it seeks to build its massive complex as an “environmentally sensitive site," despite the fact that the property at issue has always had that designation.
City regulations mandate that development of an “environmentally sensitive site” can only proceed if approved by a supermajority (a majority plus one member) of the Common Council. This de-designation effort has been undertaken by FASNY for the sole purpose of avoiding the requirement of a supermajority of the Common Council in order to approve FASNY’s plan, according to a release.
“It’s crystal clear that the former Ridgeway County Club where FASNY wants to build its exclusive, regional school consists of environmentally sensitive land,” Sheehan said. “Yet somehow FASNY is trying to convince the Common Council that that’s not the case. It would be irresponsible if the Common Council goes along with this charade being orchestrated by FASNY.”
“Now that we have a variety of informational vehicles in place and can better explain why the FASNY project is bad for White Plains, we expect that the opposition will continue to grow,” Sheehan added. “We’ll certainly be prepared once the Common Council is ready to address FASNY’s new 'alternative plan,'" Sheehan concluded.
Links to previous stories on FASNY:http://whiteplains.dailyvoice.com/news/french-american-school-white-plains-negotiate-new-development-project/679850/