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White Plains Council Votes to Test Water Source

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The White Plains Common Council unanimously voted to test the water quality in two 600-foot wells on the city’s Orchard Street watershed property with $101,000 in bond financing Monday. The financing will help White Plains expand the wells and send water samples to laboratories over the course of a year to determine if the water meets state and federal health requirements during all seasons. If so, the city would be able to use about 200,000 gallons a day from the wells and decrease the amount of water it buys from New York City.

Also on the agenda:

- The entire council voted to issue $70,700 in bonds to redesign Gillie Park's staircases, ramps, landings and walkways. Department of Public Works engineers will work with the Recreation and Parks Department to create replacements for the 1950s-era staircases and other aging structures that meet new American Disabilities Act requirements. The funding would only cover the design process, which Public Works Commissioner Joseph Nicoletti said he aimed to get done by the end of the construction season.

- Mayor Thomas Roach and the six Common Council Persons all voted to enter an agreement with the Esplanade authorizing the city to acquire the closed Lyon Place garage for free, demolish the 45-year-old parking garage, and build a seven or eight-story “modern” garage in its place. White Plains will split the operational and maintenance costs with the assisted living center. The Esplanade will get 160 parking spaces and 490 parking spots will be available for public use. The project will be funded with $17.5 million in bonds.

- The council referred out a proposal to amend the 1997 Comprehensive Plan to allow for more flexibility in the use of office park complex spaces to the Planning Board, Law Department, and environmental officers. The changes would create a new development option titled “planned office park development” that would allow developers to include residential and retail uses in office developments, provide for open space preservation, and encourage connections with biking and walking trails. The city is exploring how relaxing some restrictions on office park zoning may help take vacant office space off the market and lure in new tenants.

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