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State rejects Ferncliff--town to proceed with affordable housing on Tuesday
Release Date: April 05, 2013

New York State has rejected a proposal by Ferncliff Manor, an organization that provides services to the developmentally disabled, to lease the WESTHELP property from the town.  The Town Board had supported Ferncliff over other proposals. Ferncliff offered the town  much more revenue than any of other bidders. And, we felt that it was important to provide a quality of life opportunity for the developmentally disabled population in a campus environment.
The Town Board will meet on Tuesday morning to select an affordable housing developer to lease the WESTHELP property from the town. We hope to make a final decision next week so we could quickly move on and put the property to a good public use. The existing WESTHELP units will be converted into affordable housing -targetting senior citizens.
The following statement has been released to the press by Ferncliff Manor. We received a letter from OCFS (attached) rejecting Ferncliff’s application for the Westhelp site. Although the State Education Department continues to enage in a review of Ferncliff’s application, the ultimate decision must be made by the State Office of the Budget. Although State Ed reports to the Board of Regents rather than the Governor, DOB as well as OCFS report to the Governor’s office.
Statement from Pat and Bill Saich
Ferncliff Manor is shocked and disappointed by this news from OCFS, since we have been working with the agency on this proposal for nearly two years and had never been told of their negative views or the possibility that their support would suddenly be reversed without warning. Moreover, the position of OCFS  seems to run counter to that of the State Department of Education, which as recently as two weeks ago indicated our proposal is in line with acceptable cost formulas. We will seek a meeting with both agencies to determine how they can apparently be at such odds with one another. We are particularly surprised that OCFS has an issue with the proposed lease value, since it was made with their knowledge and under their guidance.
Contrary to the views expressed for the first time today by OCFS, we are not aware of any viable alternative site for Ferncliff Manor.  We stand ready to consult again with SED, OCFS and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities in order to determine whether we can come up with another plan that will enable us to serve the children with developmental disabilities whose future is impacted by this decision.
We note that in their letter OCFS expresses concern that potential affordable housing stock may be removed in order to provide for our disabled children. This is a policy issue that rests with the State, not Ferncliff Manor.
We wish to thank County Executive Astorino, the majority of the Board of Legislators who supported our application in their letter to the Governor, as well as Greenburgh Supervisor Feiner and Town Board, Assembly members Paulin and Abinanti, and the countless others who stood ready to help us.

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