City of New Rochelle and Iona College Develop Planning Framework for Student Housing

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Below is a document describing the framework established by New Rochelle and Iona College for discussions on the future of Iona College student housing. Your comments are welcome below.

Preamble

The City of New Rochelle and Iona College seek to form a stronger relationship that can better serve the interests of our entire community. The planning process and objectives described below are intended to confront common challenges and seize opportunities for mutually beneficial action.

It is understood that this planning process does not supplant or diminish the legal rights and authority of either the City or the College, that all participants reserve the right to withdraw from this process at any time, and that the recommendations that emerge from this process are not binding on either the City or the College.

Nonetheless, all participants affirm their intent and determination to consider new perspectives and options, overcome past obstacles, and achieve a positive, actionable outcome that advances a shared vision for a stronger and more vital city.

Mission & Goals

Establish a viable and community-­‐supported means of meeting Iona’s current and future student housing needs within walking distance of Iona’s central campus.

Support Iona’s ongoing efforts to provide a positive environment for students and compete successfully for talented, academically proficient applicants.

Achieve positive change in the appearance, economic vitality and livability of the area surrounding the Iona campus.
Minimize negative impacts that affect the health, safety, quality of life or welfare of residents and students in proximity to the Iona campus.

Better realize the positive potential for neighborhood-­‐college and resident-­‐student relationships.

Preconditions

City: Increase local occupancy limits for existing residence halls to match recent practice and to conform to the Dormitory Authority’s College and University Residence Hall Design Guidelines and/or relevant State building codes for the 2011-­‐ 2012 and 2012-­‐2013 academic years, with the option of making such an increase permanent thereafter.

Iona: Withdraw its current application to construct a new residence hall concurrently with the City Council’s affirmative vote on the local occupancy limits referenced above until at least the conclusion of the 2011-­‐2012 academic year,

while reserving the right to resubmit thereafter without prejudice, but with no guarantee of City approval.

Ground Rules for Discussion & Participation

All participants and Committee members agree to:

  • Accept and not debate the goal or necessity of securing additional student housing.
  • Strive for an outcome that achieves mutual benefit for the College, City and larger community.
  • Conduct all discussions in good faith in an open-­‐minded, candid and respectful manner.
  • Refrain from public comment regarding proposals under review by the Committee until the conclusion of the planning process, except in the context of a commonly agreed-­‐upon public statement and/or public presentation.
  • Set aside past grievances or discontents and focus solely on future action. Base judgments about positive or negative impacts on objective data.

Provision of Information

Iona agrees to share with the Committee in an open and transparent fashion financial modeling data necessary to facilitate discussion of development options. Such modeling will serve as an initial basis for analysis, but the Committee may choose to explore other means of creating and financing student housing, provided such alternatives balance the financial, planning and property concerns of the College.

During the planning process, Iona agrees to provide prior notice to the City and other process participants of any plans to renovate, improve, alter the use and/or develop its existing College facilities. However, it is understood that the provision of such prior notice is informational only, and that Iona retains the right to undertake such renovations, improvements and developments, provided they are compliant with existing City codes and regulations.

Committee Structure & Operation
Voting Members (12)

City: The City Manager & Commissioner of Development or their designees.
Iona: Five representatives selected by the President.
Neighborhood: Five representatives selected by the City Manager, in consultation with the President and the community.
Non-­‐Voting Members (3)
Chairperson/Facilitator, selected by the City Manager City Council Member, District Three
City Council Member, District Five

Decision-­‐Making: The Committee will strive for consensus whenever possible.

Final recommendations of the Committee will require the approval of two-­‐thirds (8) of its voting members. In other respects the Committee will establish its own meeting schedule, agenda and rules of procedure.

City staff will assume responsibility for convening and chairing meetings.

The Committee is expected to consult with and receive input from a broader group of stakeholders, including residents, property owners, students, faculty and staff of the College, and business people. The Committee shall also conduct at least one general public meeting.

Consulting Services

The Committee may retain consulting services to assist with planning analysis. Iona agrees to fund such services up to $50,000, with any consultant to be selected through the mutual agreement of the City and the College.

Time Frame & Schedule

September 22, 2011 -­‐ Appointment of the Committee
February 15, 2011 -­‐ Committee adopts a draft report including recommendations for the accomplishment of the stated goals.
February 15 – March 15, 2012 – Committee holds a series of meetings with community stakeholders -­‐ for comment and input.
March 15 – May 1, 2012 -­‐ Recommendations are revised, if necessary, based upon community comments.
May 15, 2012 -­‐ Final report is adopted.
The Committee may choose to revise or extend its schedule, with the consent of two-­‐thirds of its voting members.

Description of Deliverable

The Committee will aim to deliver a final product that includes at least the following:

* A physical description of any recommended student residence hall or alternative thereto comprising the primary purpose of this planning process, together with any agreed-­‐upon associated developments and/or improvements in the area surrounding Iona, focusing on the area within 1⁄2 mile of the LaPenta Student Union.
* Analysis of the general economic and community impacts and benefits likely to be associated with recommended plans and actions, with the understanding that such an analysis cannot and will not substitute for the more rigorous examination required in an environmental impact statement.
* The text of any legislation or zoning amendment necessary to effectuate recommended actions and plans.
* A discussion of a longer-­‐term vision for the Iona campus and surrounding area. This discussion should note the relationship between a long-­‐term vision and any recommended plans and actions and should also describe the future procedural steps through which Iona and the City could, through mutual consent, establish an institutional zone or comparable land-­‐use instrument.

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