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On Housing Settlement, Westchester Claims Progress, But Plaintiff Disagrees

In a new report, Westchester County claims it's far ahead of schedule in its commitment to build affordable housing. The Anti-Discrimination Center disagrees.

As families move into the first affordable housing units mandated by the federal government, Westchester County says it's ahead of schedule in its obligation to build 750 fair housing units.

But a range of civil rights groups and the plaintiff in the case, New York City-based Anti-Discrimination Center, dispute the county's claim. The majority of affordable housing projects in the works continue the practice of "exclusionary zoning" and won't make an impact in housing segregation in the county, they say.

The first affordable housing unit was sold late last year, and two families are moving into rental units in a three-family house this month, according to the county.

The county also touted its progress in moving larger projects through ahead of schedule: 108 affordable housing units already have building permits, and an additional 182 are already financed, according to a report released on Monday.

The settlement agreement required financing for 100 units and permits for 50 units by the end of 2011; in the report, the county says it's making "significant progress" and "exceeded the settlement agreement's 2011 benchmarks."

The rest of the projects are "in the pipeline," according to the county. That means different things for each community: most have identified sites for affordable housing, some are still working their way through public hearings and planning stages, and others are awaiting financing and the necessary permits to build.

One of the central arguments of the original lawsuit against Westchester County was that Westchester's communities are fundamentally segregated, according to the Anti-Discrimination Center.

The county says it's been mindful of that complaint, and says "232 of 540 units" in the pipeline "are in blocks that had zero percent African American and zero percent Hispanic population, according to the 2000 census."

The Anti-Discrimination Center disagrees. Westchester County "rejected each and all of the premises and objectives of the Decree," and the federal housing monitor overseeing the settlement hasn't held the county to account, according to the group.

Many of the proposed housing sites don't meet the settlement's obligation to desegregate neighborhoods and communities, the group says.

According to a statement released by the Anti-Discrimination Center on Jan. 10: "The Rye property, for example, is on a block that is between 50 and 51 percent Latino and African-American. No one could seriously believe that development on that block does anything other than perpetuate patterns of segregation."

The county's report mostly focused on ongoing planning, construction and zoning to meet the settlement requirements, it also includes some criticism of the federal government for blocking access to community-improvement grants and other funding. While the lawsuit is pending, some communities haven't been able to collect Community Development Block Grants and other funds.

“The county has made extraordinary progress and it is the result of our approach to work closely and cooperatively with municipalities, developers and non-profits around common goals,” County Executive Robert P. Astorino said in a statement. “This will continue to be the county’s approach until we have fully met our obligations under the settlement. The numbers tell the story.”

Kevin February 09, 2012 at 03:11 PM
BG7, I am not saying we should all be cities. You can still have a lawn with a 5,000 square foot, or 10,000 square foot lot. We can maintain our suburban character with one- and two-family houses, townhouses, accessory apartments, and apartments above our main street stores. Look at the development around most of our older suburban towns around train stations.
Marisol February 09, 2012 at 03:21 PM
@BG7. oh duuuuuh, racism is everywhere. Come out from under your rock sometimes and smell the air
BG7 February 09, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Yes Marisol, I can certainly smell the racism in your posts.
BG7 February 09, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Jill - what is an " anchor baby"? You can get neither citizienship nor permament residency through a baby or child. So what is an "anchor baby", besides being a loaded-term implying something it doesn't actually provide?
Marisol February 09, 2012 at 04:21 PM
BG7, your point white hood is showing.
Blue February 09, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Agree on that Jeff. Sometimes the hard way is the right way and other times its just harder. Though I do like to see any politician take a stand even though it could potentially ruin a career.
BG7 February 09, 2012 at 04:41 PM
why - because I call you out on your own seething racism? Please.
Marisol February 09, 2012 at 04:47 PM
@BG7...I was just wondering whether you are a child, because you're certainly behaving like one
BG7 February 09, 2012 at 04:49 PM
I doubt the editors know that Marisol is using a derogatory racial term when she/he states in an earlier post above "It's about racist peccawoods.." due to the (likely purposeful) incorrect spelling. In any event, racial slurs, have no place in Patch discussion boards.
Marisol February 09, 2012 at 05:03 PM
@BG7....who you like some cheese to go with your whine?
BG7 February 09, 2012 at 06:08 PM
jeff hit the nail on the head - they took the money in the first place. Its pointless for the county to behave like this - it comes across as them just trying to weasel out of it.
Francis T McVetty February 09, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Marisol, is that wine from New York State?
BG7 February 09, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Marisol - please continue to add to your list of clichéd retorts, better that than the racist posts.
Marisol February 09, 2012 at 07:31 PM
BG7, give it a rest already. Now I'm totally convinced that you're a child. Grow up
BG7 February 09, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Congratulations on moving away from the monomanical obsession with race. Lets hope you can keep it up, though by looking at your posting history on other topics, the chances seem slim.
Marisol February 09, 2012 at 08:48 PM
BG7, you are becoming quite scary. What is your obsession with me?
Flem Snopes Jr. February 09, 2012 at 09:03 PM
The United States practices socialism for the rich and the poor and capitalism for everyone else. It has more of a slave system today than in 1860. The only recourse is secession. I encourage all states that do not wish to commit suicide along with the federal government to secede. The federal government has abdicated its responsibilities under the Constitution. Therefore it has forfeited all legitimacy. “The price of freedom is high but Americans have always paid it” John F. Kennedy, freedom-fighter and American “All we ask is to be let alone” Jefferson Davis, freedom-fighter and American "Death Before Dishonor!" Flem Snopes, Jr., freedom-fighter and American
BG7 February 09, 2012 at 09:12 PM
I don't care for racists.
peekskillman February 09, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Marisol-the 20% or so that you speak about being used by illegals is 20% too much; which part of the word "illegal"is not understood by you. In my city of peekski,, the housing stock is abused by illegals, the downtown areas and by the post office are crowded with men "looking for work", the police cant arrest or move them along, because it violates their constitutional rights. Please, if you are here illegally, you dont have rights, except the right to be sent back to the country of origin. And while we are at it, lets stop calling them "immigrants" as it does a disservice to those who came befor them and still do, using the proper channels. A more fitting term is illegal aliens. This is another one of the reasons that Andy Spano had to settle with HUD, all the welfare and public assistance monies that the county gets due in part to the aliens. Cant have your cake and eat it too. Go to one of these south american countries and try to pull the stunts these people pull, it would probably be years before you got out of jail. Enough with the free rides, the working people who foot the bills have had enough
Marisol February 09, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Peekskillman...I am sorry to disappoint you, but I am American Choctaw Indian. First of all, I never said that the entire 20% was used by illegal immigrants. I said that 20% was utilized by legal and illegal hispanic immigrants. As yes, the illegals are indeed immigrants. An immigrant is anyone who migrates from one place to another, where it was done legally, or illegally. I, just like yourself are pay taxes as well. I don't like what's happening with all the illegals in this country, but I am not ready to just down someone's throat who has no control over the situation (unlike you). Before you respond with some more nonsense, at least know what you are talking about. Now, you can go back to your country of origin, as I am in mine.
Francis T McVetty February 09, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Marisol, I guess the Japanese were immigrants when they went into China and the Phillipines? That goes for the Germans that went into Poland, Russia etc. The present day invaders don't NEED to carry weapons. They are here illegally. Do you even know what that term means? What about all those that are waiting in line to come to our country legally. What does our policy say to them. Its ok you can come here illegally we don't mind, in fact we will reward you. Enough is enough. We can't afford this type of policy anymore. There is no racism in wanting to secure your countries borders from invasion. See what happens to you if you try this stuff on the southern border of Mexico.
Marisol February 09, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Francis, why are you people so obsessed with me? You people meaning, you, BG7 and Peekskillman. You need to read the blog before you strike out at someone. I already answered the question of my ethnicity. I am an AMERICAN CHOCTAW INDIAN. That makes me a NATIVE. I am in no way condoning illegals, but at least they didn't come here and rape, mane, kill, destroy and steal from the natives like they Europeans did. I see that you mentioned "present day invaders", so you know exactly what I am talking about. My people feel the same way about you that you feel about the Mexicans and other illegals. You talk about racism? Well, we all know that it's alive and well and living right here in NYS.
peekskillman February 10, 2012 at 01:46 AM
marisol-pls read my post in it's entirety again. I am not obsessed with you, contrary to your thoughts. I repeated what you posted, (2/8/12 @ 5:07 and 5:10) that "legal and illegals" use 20-25% of funding (your words). And YOU are the one who specifically noted hispanics, I would prefer to use a blanket coverage regardless of country of origin, for all illegals. As you can see for some of the other posters, people are fed up with the "rights" and funding given to people who have no business being in this country by virtue of the way they snuck in, and are playing the system. No one questioned your ethnicity, so what are you trying to show by noting it? Seems needless if you ask me. We are doing an injustice to those who have come here before and those that are waiting to come here legally, by allowing these aliens to not only enter the country, but pander to their needs and whims, housing included. Any monies spent on aliens is monies that could be spent on citizens, including Im sure, those that you may represent in your duties as a social worker.
Marisol February 10, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Peekskillman, I will say this, then I'm done with this dialogue. Word for word, this is what you said, "Marisol-the 20% or so that you speak about being used by illegals is 20% too much;. Now, what I said was that 20-25 % that are used by legal AND illegals. The other thing that you said was, " Please, if you are here illegally, you dont have rights, except the right to be sent back to the country of origin". That is the reason I let you know that I am Native American and there's nothing illegal about that. If I misunderstood and thought that you were not talking directly about me; please except my apology. Have a good evening.
peekskillman February 10, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Marisol-definitely NOT talking abvout you, sorry if you interpreted it that way, apologies. I am strictly talking about allthe illegal aliens who are unlawfully entering the country, using services, and keeping those that deserve these services from getting full use. It just has to stop. Have a good day
Liz Claire February 11, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Way too much irrelevant BS on this post. In short Government has no business dictating land use. Spano invited this problem misappropriating Federal Funds. Send him to jail and let us move on. Astorino is the only rational voice on this issue.
Kevin February 11, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Liz, who should dictate our land use? No one? So if I buy the property next to your house and build a 10 story, 24-hour chemical production facility, you're cool with that?
jeff meyer February 11, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Liz Claire, the most irrelevant "BS" on this post comes from you. Let's throw Andy Spano in jail. Are you serious? For what? How did he misappropriate funds? By giving said funds to elected officials who were more then willing to receive and use said funds. The only rational voice on this issue is the Westchester BOL who wish to comply and move on. Granted, this wasn't Mr. Astorino's doing. However, he should stop the political games and just comply. Unless he wishes to bankrupt the County in legal fees and fines. He needs to learn the lesson from the City of Yonkers and Judge L. Sand. Jeff Meyer Tuckahoe, NY
Blue February 11, 2012 at 01:42 PM
We r back to square one here. Settlement is in place and must be adhered to. Settlement does not include changing zoning in the effected areas ( short sighted on the feds part IMHO) but now feds want the county to fight its own towns to change zoning maps. The county has to litigate either way. I think if the Feds want the zoning changes THEY should sue the towns for exclusionary practices. Will the Fed do that in an election year in which they are already being accused of trampling the constitution on other issues? I doubt it. They want the county to do the dirty work. The towns aren't going to take it laying down so we ave years of litigation coming either way.
PinkElephant April 02, 2012 at 01:54 PM
If you want to live in Scarsdale, Eastchester, Bedford, Katonah, here are your options. Go to medical school, law school, open your own business, become a broker, etc...These people pay upwards of $60,000 a year in property taxes for their land. That's more than most people's salaries. If you want to live there, then become successful. As far as immigration is concerned, do some history and find out who really built NY and NYC. Italians, Germans, Jewish, Dutch, and the Irish. You want nice neighborhoods like the aforementioned, start policing your own race, take the bull by the horns, and show a sense of pride in your country by supporting it and growing. It's called assimilating into modern society. Every other race has done it in America through worse circumstances. Just ask the European brick layers and factory workers who used to live with 20 other people in a tenement how they did it.

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