Court Rules in Favor of County Executive in HUD Affordable Housing/Zoning Matter: Kaplowitz. County Legislature Head Calls for Negotiation Now

Hits: 10

WPCNR WESTCHESTER LAW JOURNAL.From Michael Kaplowitz, Chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators.February 18, 2015:

Today’s unanimous decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (County of Westchester v. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) finding that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) actions are subject to judicial review, specifically that HUD’s summary rejection of the County’s Analysis of Impediments (AI) submissions is not acceptable, is a significant victory for the County.

However, the decision does not bring back the lost $6.7 million from 2011 and the $15.6 million of taxpayer’s money for 2012-2014 which is still imperiled.

Further, the County is still subject to paragraph 32 of the 2009 Housing Settlement that requires the county to file an AI “acceptable to HUD”.  The circuit court specifically declined to rule on this question and left it to the district court to decide.

Finally, the judicial review as ordered does not guarantee County victory, it only guarantees our day in court and before the same judge who has ruled against the County numerous times in the past.

In fact, all these issues remain to be litigated with uncertain outcome.  Such endless litigation will take years with significant direct and indirect costs to be borne by Westchester taxpayers.

While we have achieved a notable victory, now is the time to negotiate from strength.

This decision provides a perfect opportunity for all parties in this matter to sit down and reach an end-game settlement to the issues of both the 2009 Housing Settlement and the loss of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) monies.

Public policy can best be served here by all parties negotiating rather than litigating their differences.

Therefore, to further a sound housing policy, recapture lost CDBG monies, save taxpayer’s dollars and successfully bring finality to the contentious 2009 Housing Settlement, I call on all parties to work in good faith to finally bring a resolution to this matter.


Comments are closed.