Tuesday, Jun 25th

Gedney Farms Residents Object to French American School at Ridgeway

frenchschoolrenderingWhen the French American School purchased 128 acres in White Plains to consolidate their campuses, some thought it was a win for the school and the community as it would allow the preservation of much of the open space that was once the golf course at Ridgeway Country Club. However, residents of neighboring Gedney Farms see it another way and are lobbying to prevent the school from making Ridgeway their new home.

Terrence Guerriere, a real estate attorney and President of the Gedney Farms Association spoke on WVOX on Monday September 19, to air his concerns. According to Guerriere, Gedney Farms currently houses 1,400 residents who have enjoyed living in relative quiet around the golf course. Residents feel that the influx of 1,200 students, teachers, and administrators would change the character of their peaceful neighborhood. Furthermore, the former country club paid about $300,000 in property taxes to White Plains, and a tax-exempt school would cause White Plains residents to bear an even larger tax burden. The school would require infrastructure changes to sewers and roads and could increase the risk of flooding as much of the property is located on wetlands. In addition, Guerriere contends the school would necessitate an increase in services for sanitation, police and firemen.

The French American School submitted plans for a $60 million four building complex to the city of White Plains in May. If approved, it would allow them to move students from nursery to 12th grade to one campus. Currently the school is housed at three separate locations in Larchmont, Mamaroneck and Scarsdale. A rendering of the proposed project is shown above.

According to the school, “plans for the property would preserve over 60 acres of the site as permanent and publicly accessible open space; restore and enhance the natural conditions of the site; and improve the existing stormwater and drainage conditions of the property. Less than five percent of the site will be covered by impervious surfaces.” However skeptical neighbors wonder who will bear the cost to maintain the 60 acres of open space and wetlands.

If not a school, what would Guerriere prefer to see on the site? “A golf course,” he replied. He claims that the White Plains Comprehensive Plan said that the best use of the property is a golf course, and if not, there should be singl- family homes. According to Guerriere, the area is zoned for ¾ acre lots and since much of the property is wetlands only 30 homes could be built on the 128 acres.

For now, the White Plains Common Council has imposed a moratorium on the development of open space and plans to extend it beyond the October 3rd expiration date. The extension would give the city more time to study land-use laws for four golf courses, the Hutchinson River Parkway Reservation and the Mamaroneck River East Branch.

The French American School is being represented by Attorney Michael Zarin, who represented Frederick Fish, the developer of the Tavern building at the Heathcote Five Corners in Scarsdale. Terrence Guerriere is currently running for a seat on the White Plains Community Council.

In the meantime, the Council did vote to move forward with an environmental review of the French American School’s proposed project.




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