NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – The New Rochelle City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to allow Iona College to house 150 more students than are allowed under city zoning in its off-campus dorms on North Avenue.
District 6 Councilwoman Shari Rackman said she voted yes with the understanding that the college’s planning committee – made up of neighborhood representatives, Iona officials and city staff – would come up with the best way to solve the housing issue later this year.
“Because I have faith here that the committee will sort it out in the final report, I vote yes,” said Rackman.
The council voted to increase the number of students allowed to live in the school’s dorms for two years starting in September.
City zoning laws allow the dorms to house 696 students. Iona has budgeted for an extra 150 students for the buildings. That exceeds city zoning but falls below the number allowed by New York State's fire and safety codes.
District 5 Councilman Barry Fertel voted yes, but felt that the school “failed to properly explain” its plan and how it would eventually house its students.
Fertel also expressed confidence that the committee would figure out how to deal with the issue.
“I’m hopeful,” he said.
The committee is looking at proposals that would need to go through the city Planning Board.
The college's general counsel, Anthony Dougherty, was happy with Tuesday’s decision.
“I think it’s a positive vote reaffirming the process,” he said.