Judge Says Westchester County Is Dragging Its Feet On Affordable Housing

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A federal appeals judge in scolded Westchester County Friday for dragging its feet on promises to build affordable housing in mostly-white towns and villages.

Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals angrily accused the county Friday of “consistent evasion” to delay fulfilling its obligations to build affordable housing that can be marketed to nonwhites.

He commented as an appeals panel heard arguments on an appeal by Westchester of a lower court’s orders. It did not immediately rule.

A county lawyer says Westchester is acting appropriately.

The county settled a lawsuit when it reached a 2009 agreement to build or acquire 750 units of affordable housing over seven years and market them to nonwhites.

Since then, the government has repeatedly accused Westchester of using delay tactics to avoid meeting its housing obligations.

Last summer, seven Westchester County communities got letters from the U.S. Department of Justice, demanding to know what they are doing to correct so-called “exclusionary zoning.”

It was a hit list of potential enforcement actions that could amount to fines under the federal Fair Housing Act. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino called it bullying.

Astorino has been at odds with feds over the issue since he took office — chafing under the provisions of the 2009 agreement – which was signed off upon by his predecessor – and claiming the feds have overstepped their bounds.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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