The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has declared that Westchester County’s zoning analysis, including all the many submissions of additional information throughout 2012, still falls short of the detailed analysis the agency is looking for.
The zoning analysis is part of a larger investigation of obstacles to fair housing the county is required to conduct under federal law and the 2009 fair housing settlement between Westchester, HUD and the Justice Department. Until HUD signs off on the analysis, it is withholding community development funding from the county.
“The County has failed to conduct a proper analysis of exclusionary zoning practices and to develop a clear strategy to overcome such practices, including litigation,” Glenda Fussa, HUD Deputy Regional Counsel for New York/New Jersey, wrote in a letter dated March 13.
HUD wants the county to analyze five restrictive zoning practices, including restrictions on multifamily housing, limits on lot size and laws directed at Section 8 or affordable housing generally, and their impact on the diversity of the population.
The county analysis had concluded that there is no exclusionary zoning in Westchester.
HUD has the final say on the adequacy of the county’s analysis, according to previous court decisions in the case. But the monitor appointed to oversee the implementation of the settlement, James Johnson of Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City, is conducting his own zoning analysis using the information the county has submitted over the past year and work by his consultants, he said in a report to the court in February. It’s not clear how Johnson’s work will affect HUD’s decision.
The county’s zoning submissions are available here.