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New Rochelle - Iona College Planning Committee Appointed

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New Rochelle - Iona College Planning Committee Appointed

October 04, 2011 - 13:21
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The City of New Rochelle put out the following press release:

As part of the collaborative planning process announced last month between the City of New Rochelle and Iona College, City Manager Charles Strome today announced members of the Iona Planning Committee. The Committee will examine options for addressing student housing objectives and other college priorities while also improving the economy and quality of life for the larger community.

“This committee, comprised of representatives from Iona College, surrounding neighborhoods and the City administration, is well-suited for the task at hand,” said City Manager Charles Strome. “We look forward to their recommendations.”
 
The Iona Planning Committee will be holding its first meeting in mid October. 
 
CHAIRPERSON/FACILITATOR (Non-Voting Member): 
Matthew Fasciano
 
COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES (Non-Voting Members):
City Council Member District Three (currently Jared Rice)
City Council Member District Five (currently Barry Fertel)
 
CITY REPRESENTATIVES (Voting Members):
City Manager or his designee
Commissioner of Development or his designee
 
NEIGHBORHOOD REPRESENTATIVES (Voting Members appointed by City Manager)
Sara Dodds-Brown – Rochelle Heights Neighborhood Association
Bob Kelly – Beechmont Neighborhood Association
Madeleine Peters – Greater Mount Joy Neighborhood Association
Naomi Towers – Mount Joy Neighborhood Association
Nick Williams – Halcyon Park Neighborhood Association
 
IONA REPRESENTATIAVES (Voting Members appointed by President of Iona College)
Charles Carlson – Vice Provost for Student Development
Kyle Harry – Former President of Iona Student Government Association and current Graduate student and Admissions Operations Secretary
Jonathan Ivec – Vice President for Finance and Administration
Joseph E. Nyre – President (or designee:  Michele Sampson or others)
Marilyn Wilkie, Acting Vice President for Advancement and External Affairs

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This is hopefully the first step in building a better line of communication and to create a new relationship between Iona, the neighborhood associations and The City of New Rochelle. Set a more positive path. The committee will work towards the goal of taking a fresh look at the College’s development. With neighborhood input and participation, the City and Iona will now examine the options for addressing student housing objectives and other priorities while also improving the economy and quality of life of the larger community.
We must watch the process and follow it closely. This is not the end, just a new beginning. Most of the players remain the same so it is even more important to keep our guard up. There is an election in November that could change some of the makeup of The City Council. Hopefully there will be some fresh ideas and voices when all is said and done. It is also up to all of us to keep the pressure on after the elections. We must get out and vote in November with the knowledge of what each council member said or did not say during this process. Also, who stepped up? Take an active role in what goes on in all of New Rochelle. It is our chance to hold the Council Members accountable and let them know we are not going away or forgetting. Make sure this is not another ineffective committee.

Words of many followers:
-Please don’t let this process be yet another, “we will give neighbors representation on the committee, we will listen to you, we will let you vent, and then, we will do as we please.”
-While the “document” may preserve the City’s right to regulate occupancy levels, will the City exercise that option?
-Don’t let this process be yet another smoke screen to put the vote off until another time. Then send the approval forward for the same exact dorm on that site or a similar plan with minor change. If this happens it would show the true side of all.

In closing, regardless of what is said and done about any topic or issue we as citizens must start taking part in what happens in our city. Not just for your own street or neighborhood. Step up and speak up a lot louder. If we still are not heard then we must do it with our votes in November. Vote for what is right, not for a party. Because what is going on now in New Rochelle is no party.

Bob can you spell out where all the candidates are on Iona dormitory issue?

The current city council members should have a position already while the challengers might be hard to pin down.

Where does Mayor Bramson's voluntary PILOT payments factor into everything? I would assume there're connected, but I know what happens when you assume.

Since you are smart enough to know what happens when you assume, you can probably figure out the direction the council would most likely have voted if the proposal wasn’t dropped. The zoning amendment issue was pretty much the same way. These may not be fact but are the feedback and feeling we were getting at the time. As I say, perception is everything. In fairness to all, I will give you an idea of where we think we stood during the dorm proposal process and after holding meetings with several council members.
-Mayor Noam Bramson did not attend these meetings with the district members. He did say that he saved judgment and further comment until the DEIS was complete and council had time to reviewed it.
-District#1 Councilman Lou Trangucci and District#2 Councilman Albert Taritino were both against the proposal. We spoke directly to them but did not meet.

At a meeting on November 13, 2010
-District#6 Council member Marianne Sussman was not in favor of the proposal as presented. The proposed dorm was in District#6 prior to the new districts lines being drawn.
-District#3 Council member Roxie Stowe at the time was not in favor of the proposal.
-District#3 Council member Jarred Rice running for the district seat at the time said he was concerned about the project and would wait for the results of the environmental studies. He would save judgment until the DEIS was complete.

At a meeting on December 22, 2010
- District#5 Councilman Barry Fertel said he is concerned about the project and awaits the results of the environmental studies, particularly with respect to the impacts on parking and city services. He agrees that Iona College should focus on North Avenue south of Hubert Place. However if it came between putting the dorm in district #6 at the time or in his district #5 he would vote in favor of the proposal just to keep it away from their side of North Avenue. After the district lines were re-drawn, this same area is now in the new District #5 which he is running for.
-District#4 Councilman Richard St. Paul said he is concerned about the project and awaits the results of the environmental studies, particularly with respect to the impacts on parking and city services.

The voluntary PILOT payments factoring into everything now that people are seeing the numbers. It has been mentioned in the past. I think people have now seen the effect and the toll that the loss of millions of dollars in city and school taxes can have on our city. These once taxable homes with families in them that surround the campus and in other location in New Rochelle have been lost to the tax rolls over the years while Iona has slowly purchased them for college related use which is allowed by the zoning regulations as I am told. I have spoken with a few of the new candidates but could not confirm their position for you at this time. Good debate questions.

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