Seven Westchester municipalities have been accused in a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report of having zoning laws that keep out and segregate low-income families.
Croton-on-Hudson, Harrison, Lewisboro, the Town of Mamaroneck, the Town of Ossining, Pelham Manor and Pound Ridge were the seven municipalities named in the report recently released from Housing Monitor James Johnson. Johnson is trying to ensure that Westchester County meets the terms of a 2009 anti-discrimination housing settlement that requires the county to build 750 units of affordable housing by 2016, according to a news release.
Johnson said the towns lack zoning laws that provide incentives for or mandate affordable housing.
“Our work made clear (that) seven municipalities did not meet the first standard. I believe more data is required before one can conclude on the second,” Johnson said.
The county settled the anti-discrimination suit with HUD in 2009, but the two sides have butted heads since County Executive Robert Astorino took office in 2010. HUD is threatening to withhold $20 million in federal grants for nonprofits if the county does not meet HUD’s terms.
Ned McCormack, communications director and senior adviser to Astorino rejected the HUD report.
“The county’s comprehensive analysis in eight submissions to HUD – running to thousands of pages of documentation – found no evidence of any exclusionary zoning,” McCormack said in a statement. “The county executive once again demands that HUD release the $17 million it is arbitrarily withholding from our local communities. There is no reason for HUD to continue to hold this money hostage, which is designed to help our neediest residents.”
HUD Report Questions Westchester Zoning Laws | The Mt. Kisco Daily Voice.