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White Plains Council Vote On French-American School Expected On Wednesday

One of several meetings that drew a large turnout of White Plains residents, many of them opposed to redevelopment of the Ridgeway Country Club into a private school. White Plains Common Council is expected to take a final vote on Wednesday.
One of several meetings that drew a large turnout of White Plains residents, many of them opposed to redevelopment of the Ridgeway Country Club into a private school. White Plains Common Council is expected to take a final vote on Wednesday. Photo Credit: File photo

This story has been updated.

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- After more than four years of public debate, White Plains Common Council plans to vote Wednesday on proposed construction of a private school on the former Ridgeway Country Club.

The French-American School of New York, also known as FASNY, has revised its project several times since its original 2011 plan to persuade neighboring residents and the Common Council that a new school is preferable over alternative development options at the golf course.

A "supermajority" of five yes votes is required by the seven-member council to approve a special permit needed for the FASNY project to proceed. Wednesday's meeting begins at 7 p.m. at White Plains City Hall. A large turnout is expected. It will be broadcast live on City Government Access cable TV -- Cablevision Channel 75 and Verizon Channel 47.

FASNY wants to build a $60 million elementary and secondary school campus on the 128-acre site formerly used as a golf course while merging its three schools now located in Larchmont, Mamaroneck and Scarsdale. During the past year, protests from neighbors concerned about increased traffic and reduced green space intensified as did questioning from Common Council members.

This week, members of the Gedney Neighborhood Association accused FASNY of trying to intimidate council members by sending this letter signed by new FASNY board chairman Andrea Soros Colombel on Friday to White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach and the rest of the Common Council.

Colombel is the daughter of billionaire investor George Soros, a major political campaign contributor nationwide, including presidential candidates.

Gedney Association Board Member Ellen Del Vecchio Lee sent a reply to Roach and the Common Council that began: "So now FASNY has drawn back the curtain and has shown who OZ really is….Don’t you find it odd that now, at the very last minute, they not so subtlety inform  the all Democratic Council and Mayor that their new Chairman of the Board of Trustees is Ms. Andrea Soros ??? Should I state the obvious? Her father is one of the wealthiest men in the world and one of largest contributors to the Democratic Party in New York State, Washington and beyond….."

"Not only that but prior correspondence from her as well as the FASNY's own Website. . . fails to include her maiden name Soros. The hint of attempt at intimidation is obvious,'' Lee wrote.

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