NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Flavio La Rocca is a long-time New Rochelle resident. He and wife, Maria La Rocca, own and operate one of the largest construction companies in New Rochelle. The La Roccas reside with their five children at 140 Sussex Road in New Rochelle.
La Rocca moved to New Rochelle as a child, graduated from New Rochelle High School and has lived in New Rochelle for 36 years.
F. La Rocca & Sons, Inc. began as a family business in 1978, primarily a landscaping and maintenance company, according to the company’s web site. In 1997, Flavio La Rocca became the President of the company. Today, he along with his wife, oversees all company operations which have expanded to include masonry decorative masonry, rock work concepts, drainage solutions, decorative patios, stone retaining walls, driveways and complete site renovations. The company is fully licensed and insured to serve all of Westchester County, New York and Southern Areas of Connecticut.
Flavio La Rocca and Maria La Rocca are public figures. They have appeared together in television commercials and spoken at City Council meetings.
Most recently, Maria La Rocca helped created a group to represent business interest along East Street, off Fifth Avenue, near City Park. As President of New Rochelle United Against Eminent Domain, she has issued press releases, spoke at public meetings, appeared on television and given interviews to local media outlets.
New Rochelle United Against Eminent Domain was formed in 2014 as a consortium of 10 business owners who operate on property in the area of East Street off of Fifth near the Sidney E. Frank Skate Park. The organization was formed in an effort to resist an attempt by the City of New Rochelle to use eminent domain to take property along East Street to create an area large enough to relocate the Department of Public Works yard currently located on East Main Street. The City has struggled for years with various plans to relocate the DPW yard to make way for various development initiatives along Echo Bay an inlet on the New Rochelle coast of Long Island Sound.
The skate park opened in 2006, several months after Frank’s death. The skate park was funded, in part, by a donation from the Sidney Frank Foundation. Frank made his fortune as the exclusive importer of Jägermeister and developing Grey Goose vodka. Frank sold the Grey Goose brand to Bacardi for $2 billion in June 2004.
According to her LinkedIN profile, Maria La Rocca was an Executive Assistant at Sidney Frank Importing for four years, from 1999 to 2003.
As President of New Rochelle United Against Eminent Domain, Maria La Rocca issued a statement expressing alarm that relocating the DPW Yard to East Street would cause a “traffic nightmare”.
“The exit for all of the city’s trucks would feed out onto Fifth Avenue, which is a narrow one-lane street already suffering from serious traffic issues,” said Maria La Rocca.
Maria La Rocca also contended that the vehicles feeding out onto Fifth Avenue would “cause a serious safety issue for the children and school buses in the area” because Barnard School is located just 1,200 feet away from East Street.
“We don’t know what we would do if the city condemns our business,” said Maria La Rocca. ““Our business, our family name, and our reputation will suffer if this happens.”
In his remarks to City Council on December 2nd, 2014, Flavio LaRocca presented his views on the proposed move of the city yard.
He expressed concerns over transparency, the intrusion of the City on his property and the threat that property he worked so hard for would be taken without his consent.
“I was told by some of the officials who were there at the meeting [a meeting at City Hall several weeks earlier] that there was going to be some transparency, we were going to be kept in the loop, we were going to be informed of all things but it has been everything but since then. We have had to make the initial step to come to the City to find out what’s going on and we’ve been notified as property owners at the last minute that the City needs access to your facility because we need to do inspections, we need to do surveys, we need to do drilling and so forth.”
“In addition, having built my business by myself, I think it is unfair to have your property that you have worked so hard for be pulled from under your feet with this abuse of power and I say abuse of power because eminent domain is made to be used for necessary use…”
Flavio La Rocca went on to express concerns on the burden the City would place on tax payers by locating the City Yard on East Street and the impact on the neighborhood around East Street, especially small children who he said play in the street in front of his property.
“You are going to be ruining a community and a part of the City where childrens love to play, there’s a 20-acre ball field on one side with a skate park and the location where you want to put the City facility there the DPW garage abuts right up to neighborhoods where there are small children who play in the street many a times I see the children playing right in front of my property there and even my own kids like to come there and play there when that property is then converted into a city yard what will happen to that area what will happen to the neighborhood, what would happen to the street on Fifth Avenue all the traffic that’s there and it’s barely a one lane street and there is already too much traffic there to begin with…”
Flavio La Rocca reproached City officials who told him they have the right to take his property.
Maria La Rocca addressed City Council as well. She read from a prepared statement where she repeated all of the key points made in the New Rochelle United Against Eminent Domain press release.
In her remarks she outlined two major arguments, that relocating the City Yard on East Street is unnecessary and that locating the City Yard of East Street would be a nuisance to the surrounding community.
She closes with an emotional argument, echoing her husband’s remarks, about the threat to property he (and she) worked so hard to own and the impact on her children, especially her daughter who is very ill.
“Please do not violate our right to keep what we have worked so hard to own. If the City condemns my business we don’t know what we’ll do. We have operated Flavio La Rocca and Sons out of our current location for nearly 17 years. Our business, our family name, and our reputation will suffer if that happens. I want City Council to understand the weight of my decision. My husband Flavio and I have five children, one who has a rare disease and is on cancer medication. This proposed project and the threat of losing our business and livelihood have taken a tremendous toll on my family and all the threatened business owners. If no other reason I urge you to drop this plan for the sake of my sick daughter.”
Ultimately the plan was dropped by the City and there are currently no plans to relocate City Yard on East Street according to New Rochelle Development Commissioner Luiz Aragon.
Flavio La Rocco did not return repeated phone calls, messages and emails requesting comment on this series of articles.
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