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White Plains Settles With French-American School, Permits Smaller Project

White Plains residents at a public hearing at City Hall on the French-American School of New York's first  plan for a campus at Ridgeway Country Club. At Tuesday's meeting, the Common Council voted 4-3 to consider a new site plan, settling a lawsuit.
White Plains residents at a public hearing at City Hall on the French-American School of New York's first plan for a campus at Ridgeway Country Club. At Tuesday's meeting, the Common Council voted 4-3 to consider a new site plan, settling a lawsuit. Photo Credit: File photo

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- By a 4-3 vote on Tuesday night, the White Plains Common Council approved a settlement agreement that allows the French-American School of New York to develop a smaller school at the former Ridgeway Country Club.

While the stipulated settlement ends litigation, FASNY must still seek final city approval of a scaled-down school project at the former country club.

Under the new proposal, a school for grades six through 12 would be built on the developed portion of the site where the clubhouse and other facilities exist. Hathaway Lane will remain open.

Pre-school through fifth grade would be eliminated from the new plan, reducing the student population by 33 percent from 950 to 640, reducing building square footage by 35 percent, and reducing traffic by 42 percent, according to the proposal.

However, some area homeowners fear the revised plan may result in new homes being built on the former golf course since FASNY now proposes reducing the size of a public nature park from 78 acres to 51 acres.

FASNY's original $60 million plan, would have consolidated its schools in Scarsdale, Larchmont and Mamaroneck on the 131-acre site of the former golf course and country club. That project included a new pre-K through 12th-grade school and public nature park.

The stipulation of settlement would not obligate the White Plains Common Council to approve FASNY's smaller school, according to Mayor Tom Roach.

In a separate action earlier this week, FASNY filed two easements, according to Roach's office. The first will be used for a pedestrian/bicycle pathway that will connect to Robinhood Road. The second is a 51-acre conservation easement which is proposed to be used as publicly accessible open space.

In a press statement, Andrea Colombel, FASNY"s board chairperson. said, “We believe we have put forth a proposal that works for our School and addresses the most contentious issues that have been raised by some of the neighbors. We expect that the Mayor and Common Council members will agree.”

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