As previously mentioned, Westchester County (the “County”) entered into a Settlement and Order of Stipulation and Dismissal (the “Settlement”) regarding exclusionary zoning practices and the ability to create affordable housing. Attached is a report, required by the U.S. District Court’s 7/12/2012 Order, compelling the County to conduct an analysis regarding restrictive zoning practices in 31 communities. The County reached the conclusion that there was no evidence of exclusionary zoning in any of the 31 communities. However, the court appointed Monitor engaged the Pratt Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment (old friends John Shapiro and Brian Kintish, with Alix Fellman) to review the County’s conclusions and data. The attached report concluded that 24 of the 31 communities are not exclusionary, and directed the County to provide by August 27, 2013 priority steps the 7 exclusionary communities should take to provide sufficient opportunities for affordable housing.
The report highlighted my community, Hastings on Hudson, for providing meaningful opportunities for development of affordable housing, in terms of zoning and the recently adopted Comprehensive Plan.
Monitor’s Report on Westchester County’s Analysis of Municipal Zoning
Report on Zoning by Municipality in Westchester County, New York (Hastings-on-Hudson Section)
Westchester County continues to avoid compliance with the County’s settlement agreement to produce 750 units of affordable housing in communities with low minority population. Please see Monday’s New York Times editorial, Westchester Loses Again on Fair Housing. It is disappointing to see the County’s leadership opposing affordable housing, while placing at risk federal funding for housing and other needed projects.
The New York Times: Westchester Loses Again on Fair Housing
HUD and Westchester County continue to disagree regarding the implementation of the settlement agreement to produce 750 units of affordable housing in communities with low minority population representation. The federal monitor is reviewing the situation and will issue a determination.
Please see the recent response by HUD Public Affairs to Wall Street Journal article (“Why the War of Words?”). Also see a Journal News editorial critical of Westchester County’s failure to comply with agreed to settlement (“A Journal News editorial: Housing foes embrace politics, shun history“).
Similar to the Mt. Laurel decisions, it seems it will take considerable more time to provide affordable housing.
More than a year after Westchester County settled a federal lawsuit with a promise to create 750 below-market-rate homes in wealthy, predominantly white communities, one element of a housing plan is progressing.
In August 2009, following a lawsuit filed by the Anti-Discrimination Center of New York, Westchester agreed to spend $52 million over seven years to build 750 units of fair and affordable housing in parts of Westchester with the least racial diversity.
Recently, the federal monitor, James E. Johnson, overseeing Westchester’s compliance with the settlement agreed to a model ordinance for local governments to follow. At the same time, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino announced that the County is a year ahead of schedule in reaching a benchmark in its landmark Affordable Housing Settlement. According to Astorino, Westchester has met its first benchmark under terms of the settlement between the County and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). (more…)
Westchester County’s desegregation plan is again found inadequate and the court appointed monitor has given the County until August 9th to remedy. The monitor questioned the County Executive’s “tone” in terms of providing leadership on this issue. If dissatisfied, the monitor does have the power, under the original HUD consent degree, to revise the County’s plan. (more…)
Last week, the monitor overseeing the settlement rejected the county’s affordable-housing plan, saying it was deficient on details, accountability and enforcement. Instead of specifying what the county would do to meet certain desegregation bench marks, Westchester merely restated the bench marks. The plan didn’t specify where and how the money would be spent. It had no “concrete time frame” for finding and buying properties to develop and was “unnecessarily vague on the whole.” (more…)