Iona vs New Rochelle Lawsuit
related to Beechmont
Original post from April 9th 2017

The primary goal of the Beechmont Association is to preserve and protect the character of the BEECHMONT residential
neighborhood. Although there are homes in Beechmont not used as private residences (some are used for College
purposes), all are presently maintained to appear as single family private homes, and to blend into the neighborhood.

IONA is currently suing the City to have the 11 Beechmont home lots they own become part of their main campus. This
could give them the right to change the homes on these lots to other types of campus buildings or structures. This does not
mean they have current plans to do this, only that they would have the right to do it if the need arose in the future.

The City and Beechmont are working to preserve our neighborhood.  Feel free to call Beechmont President Victor
Stanionis  at 914-632-8987 or if you have any questions.

If you would like to learn more or to make your opinions known, there is a City Council Meeting addressing this issue on
Tuesday, May 11th, at 7:00 pm at City Hall in Council Chambers.

The below map shows the 11 properties in question # 2-7 on Beechmont Drive, # 8-11 on MontgomeryPlace, # 12 on Pryer
Terrace (property #1 is Iona's Main Campus).
This page will be
updated as significant
new information
becomes available.
Update from April 11th , 2017 - City Council Meeting
- About a dozen Beechmont residents spoke at the April 11th council meeting on this issue. The all emphasised the long history
and beauty of the area, and the importance to maintain its residential character. They raised their concern on the impact to
Beechmont if Iona transformed these Beechmont homes into new campus structures.  They generally strongly supported the
city position to fight Iona's lawsuit. A number also expressed a wish to work with Iona on this issue.
- Greg Varian - Speaking for the board - made the Legal case related to maintaining the properties as they are.
- An Iona Attorney-  informed the council that Iona had not requested this session and did not want to discuss the merits of their
case in this forum
- A Iona representative reviewed Iona's contributions to New Rochelle
- The New Rochelle council did not significantly comment due to the pending litigation
This page has information on the current action Iona initiated against New Rochelle as it relates to Beechmont
Most recent news on top
Update April 26th & May 17th 2017  links to:
Beechmont association plans to send out a general communication to all Beechmont residents
Iona letter April 19th to Beechmont residents and Beechmont response May 17

Legal brief (by Greg Varian) presented to New Rochelle on behalf of Beechmont  on April 11th
On July 25, 2017 the Judge dismissed the IONA lawsuit, basically on the grounds they did not pursue all administrative
remedies before going to court. Below is key final paragraph in the ruling. There will undoubtable be other steps taken by IONA
either in court or via the city to address this, but it is a positive step for Beechmont that this first request was rejected.
The below article is from the May 4th 2018 Journal News.

The key item as it relates to Beechmont's concern on the merger of its 11 lots owned by IONA is mentioned in the 4th
paragraph    "future lot mergers will require a special permit"

This means any such future request by IONA will go to the New Rochelle City council for the granting of such a special permit.
If such a permit is granted, what if any conditions are placed on it and what action IONA may take would only be determined at
that future time.  

New Rochelle and Iona reach agreement - May 4th 2018 - Journal News
NEW ROCHELLE – An agreement between Iona College and the city is poised to end a year-long legal dispute over zoning
regulations, according to a joint news release.

Last year, Iona sued New Rochelle, saying city officials unlawfully amended an ordinance to require a special permit to merge
lots next to college campuses. College officials had called the amendment "targeted legislation" aimed at Iona's plans to
expand Hagan Hall.

The agreement between the two parties was reached last month. “We are pleased to have entered into a settlement
agreement, which we anticipate will result in the discontinuance of the pending litigation,” said Iona spokesman Whit Clay.
“This is a win-win for everyone involved," said Luiz Aragon, the city's development commissioner. "There's a balance that is
achieved for the college's needs and the community's need."

Part of the deal outlines a relaxed review process that eases the college's plans to expand Hagan and Spellman halls. It
allows administrators to skip the Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS), an item in the State Environmental Quality
A one-time deal, the agreement states all future campus developments will be reviewed under the GEIS,
and future lot
mergers will require a special permit.

Another key item states Iona will not pursue further legal action against the city.
“The city wants Iona to be a thriving college that grows in a fashion consistent with our community’s planning principles and
that continues to maintain a mutually respectful and supportive relationship with its neighbors," Mayor Noam Bramson said in
a statement.