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Judge Backs French American School, Blasts White Plains 'War Of Attrition'

More than 70 White Plains residents attended this public hearing on a proposed French American School in Ridgeway. A state Supreme Court has rejected White Plains' motion to dismiss a FASNY lawsuit over its stalled school construction plan.
More than 70 White Plains residents attended this public hearing on a proposed French American School in Ridgeway. A state Supreme Court has rejected White Plains' motion to dismiss a FASNY lawsuit over its stalled school construction plan. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- A state Supreme Court judge has rejected a motion to White Plains Common Council to a dismiss a lawsuit by a private school over its development proposal.

State Supreme Court Judge Joan Lefkowitz wrote in a decision (attached below): "Having repeatedly wrung from FASNY concessions and accommodations on FASNY’s original proposal, then extending the SEQRA process further by compelling FASNY to explore the North Street option and essentially enticing FASNY to submit a new application incorporating that very option, the Common Council illegally placed the 2014 Application in administrative limbo, has held it hostage since August 5, 2015, and is now waging a war of attrition in an effort to dissuade FASNY from pursuing what appears to be a legal use of its land.

The Common Council narrowly defeated plans by the French-Amierican School of New York to build a new school on the former Ridgeway Country Club. The 5-4 vote prompted FASNY to file a lawsuit challenging the process.

Karen M. Pasquale, senior advisor to White Plains Mayor Tom Roach said, "No response has been released.''

Pasquale said the city is still reviewing Lefkowitz' decision with its legal counsel.

The Common Council has until May 9 to respond.

FASNY, which operates schools in Larchmont and Mamaroneck, wants to build a regional K through 12th-grade school on the site of the former Ridgeway golf course in the Gedney neighborhood.

The judge’s ruling examined the history of the FASNY application and -- in response to the Common Council’s objection that a court ruling could determine the fate of the proposed application -- indicated instances where a judgment might be made.

Lefkowitz determined that the 2014 Special Permit Application was not moot and the Court has the power to compel the council to vote on it.

“As this Court has already held, while the 2014 Application might have been denied as incomplete or defective as a consequence of the failure to grant the Discontinuance Petition, it was not rendered moot thereby and the Common Council could not simply decline to vote on the 2014 Application," Lefkowitz wrote.

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