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New Rochelle/Iona Joint Planning Effort Concludes

The process sought to provide development recommendations to the city and to the college.

From the City of New Rochelle:

City of New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson and Iona College President Joseph E. Nyre, Ph.D., today announced the successful conclusion of the Community-College Planning Committee process and success in providing recommendations to the City and Iona College.

The Committee has met regularly since in mid-November of 2011 in an effort to meet the objectives outlined in the Planning Document. With neighborhood input and participation, the City and Iona have examined many options for addressing student housing objectives and other priorities while also improving the economy and quality of life of the larger community.

"I am deeply grateful for the Committee's outstanding service,” Bramson said. “Working together, they overcame a history of division and disagreement, confronted difficult challenges, and reached consensus on a better way forward. Their recommendations will be a strong new foundation for college community relations and will also bolster our efforts to improve the North Avenue corridor. Mission accomplished."

“Iona commends the successful process and diligence of the Committee members who have worked tirelessly toward a positive outcome that benefits both the community and Iona College,” Nyre said. “As one of the largest private sector employers in New Rochelle, it’s not enough to only support local businesses. I believe, when practical, Iona should and consequently will seek other mutually beneficial ways to support New Rochelle. We look forward to an ever-evolving positive and mutually beneficial relationship.”

Community leaders lent their support of the Committee’s recommendations of the possible development of sites for future College development. After thoughtful and insightful consideration by the Committee, the following recommendations have been submitted:

  • Extending the college’s student housing occupancy limit for five additional years
  • Creating a special permitting process for development of college-related facilities, including an increase an allowable height and density within the North Avenue zone
  • Outlining a potential seven-story residence hall along North Avenue for City and College review, while also establishing conditions for potential future development
  • Continued and increased efforts by both the College and community members to promote positive, productive relationships between the College and members of the surrounding communities
  • Community participation in the College’s Master Planning Process

The Community-College Planning Commission was formed in August 2011 and comprised of representatives from the City, Iona and local neighborhood associations to begin positive and meaningful discussions about Iona’s development needs. The established process worked to overcome past obstacles, to consider new perspectives that would demonstrate a transparent partnership and to advance a shared vision for a stronger, more vital campus and City.

“It has been my honor to chair this committee for the last year,” said Chairperson and Facilitator Matthew Fasciano. “What this group of individuals—including neighborhood representatives, college administrators and City officials—has accomplished is both unprecedented and substantial. Others have tried to build this bridge, but few have succeeded in establishing something so tangible, necessary and lasting. None got exactly what they wanted in the final proposal but what we all got was a plan that meets the needs of the college, one that the surrounding neighbors can readily live with, and a healthy spark of new development along that portion of North Avenue. The result is something that's good for all of New Rochelle.”

In November 2011, Iona College proposed new housing options on or within a half mile from College property to meet the needs of its increasing residential student population. In March 2012, a “Call for Concepts” inviting developers, property owners, contractors or any party that could provide viable options and alternatives for the remaining need of 170-200 beds was issued and subsequently reviewed.

Copies of the final report are available online at www.newrochelleny.com and www.iona.edu

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