After James Johnson, the monitor overseeing Westchester County’s fair housing settlement with the federal government, released a report this week saying that seven municipalities in the county have exclusionary zoning, officials and candidates put out statements in response. Below are ones from Noam Bramson, the Democratic candidate for county executive, and Legislator Ken Jenkins, the Democratic chairman of the Board of Legislators from Yonkers. Click here for a story on the towns’ reaction:
“The report of the housing monitor narrows the challenge facing Westchester, giving the County an opportunity to put the settlement behind us and shape a sensible housing policy that benefits all people in the region. But this will require constructive, collaborative leadership, not the shameless scare tactics and falsehoods consistently offered by Republican Rob Astorino.”
“The County Executive’s obstructionism has already needlessly prolonged this dispute, costing taxpayers millions in lost grants and frivolous legal expenses, with tens of millions more at risk. Moreover, Mr. Astorino’s absurd claims—that the County must eliminate all local zoning and spend $1 billion on new housing units—have now been utterly debunked.”
“Instead of continuing this losing and deceptive strategy, the County should work with the municipalities noted in today’s report to gather accurate information, provide professional assistance, and ensure that additional actions, if any are eventually required, reflect sound planning principles and uphold local interests.”
- # #
“County Executive Rob Astorino asked Mr. Johnson to help resolve the impasse with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and now that the County is in receipt of this zoning report, the Administration should immediately develop a plan addressing the monitor’s findings which can be included in the County’s Analysis of Impediments.
“Simply, Mr. Johnson has provided Westchester officials with the necessary information that will put the County on the road to full compliance of the housing settlement and thus stop HUD from reallocating more than seven million dollars in Community Development Block Grant funds meant for our communities. In reviewing the report, it seems clear that the County can work with the seven municipalities to address all of the issues raised. Right now, HUD simply requires substantial assurance of a plan.
“Because County Executive Astorino responded with Source of Income legislation to prevent personal fines and jail time and throwing the County into contempt of court, I’m again confident he will move forward with a plan to meet HUD’s requirements for an acceptable Analysis of Impediments. Time is getting short, I’m afraid, and our communities will suffer needlessly if the County Executive continues to play chicken with Westchester’s Community Development Block Grant funding.”