HUD postpones permanent loss of Westchester grants; Legislators seek to break impasse

5

The Department of Housing and Urban Development will delay the reallocation of community development grants due to Westchester County until at least June 8 while legislative leaders look for a way to bring the county into compliance with the 2009 fair housing settlement with the federal government.

HUD had said it would send more than $5 million in grants from 2012 to other communities in the region if kaplowitzsettlementWestchester County did not give assurances that it would take several steps on the settlement by May 7. County Executive Rob Astorino rejected HUD’s demands, which came on top of the reallocation of $7.4 million from 2011 and while the county is fighting HUD in court over the funds.

But Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz, D-Somers, decided that the Board would take the lead in trying to bring the county into compliance. The major sticking point is an analysis of whether local zoning laws preserve segregated housing in mostly white towns. The county’s analysis has said there is no exclusionary zoning in any town. HUD has rejected the analysis as inadequate and Astorino, who is running for governor, has accused the agency of trying to dismantle local zoning.

To keep the grants, by June 8, the county must sign a document assuring HUD that it will provide an analysis that meets its requirements. And by July 31, the county must provide a new analysis. It’s expected to be based partly on the county’s analysis, partly on a report from the monitor overseeing the case, who found exclusionary zoning based on economics in seven towns (one of which has since been removed from the list) and on new work overseen by the board, said Matthew Richter, a spokesman for the board.

“Everyone’s looking at this as a new opportunity to move the ball a little further,” he said.

Kaplowitz is expected to provide more details at a press conference Friday morning.

Photo: Westchester Legislator Michael Kaplowitz, D-Somers, announcing an expanded role for the Board of Legislators in implementing the fair housing settlement April 24, 2014. Elizabeth Ganga/The Journal News

Share.

About Author

5 Comments

  1. the real deal on

    what on earth does HUD mean by requiring an analyis that
    begs its premise…..its premise is that some municipalities
    are segregated and presumably many are but not because of
    any official action to keep blacks out of town….Unlike the
    city of yonkers which was found to have intentionally discriminated by placing low income housing almost exclusively
    on the western portion of the city, places like scarsdale
    larchmont, bedford etc decided that they would be suburban
    bastions which allowed larger plots of land to accomodate the desires of many of its wealthy residents…how is that
    exclusionary unless you define exlusionary by the very
    existance of segregated areas based on income…and for the
    most part any segregation that exists is the product of only
    one thing…the ability to buy a house and pay the property
    and school taxes..income inequality may be a legitimate topic of discussion going forward but it is not a basis to
    force municipalities who were in good faith when they
    passed their zoning laws to change them to accomodate those
    who can’t afford to live there

  2. Westchester Voter on

    The prior comment shows that “by June 8, the county must sign a document assuring HUD that it will provide an analysis that meets its requirements. And by July 31, the county must provide a new analysis”. HUD has denied the validity of ALL the analyses written to date. Since we residents have been saddled with an agreement former CE Spano pushed(and was accepted by the BOL). We have had to abide by the settlement as stated. For all our sakes, perhaps the new BOL Chair Kaplowitz can bring some pressure on HUD. As a taxpayer and longtime resident of Westchester I believe we need to fulfill the commitment Spano left us with. But this whole matter should not be a political football in the governmental race. I am amazed that Gov. Cuomo has resorted to mudslinging and that the media is portraying Westchester as a biased County. Monitor James Johnson, as well as our County Government members are doing the best they can to fulfill the requirements of the agreement. HUD is hurting those who need help. And please, no more Sharpton nonsense!