| NEW YORK, April 28
NEW YORK, April 28 A federal appeals court on
Friday admonished New York's wealthy Westchester County to stop
its "total obstructionism" in implementing an agreement
designed to boost affordable housing.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its warning
after finding that Westchester, one of the nation's richest
suburbs, twice breached a 2009 consent decree requiring it to
build 750 affordable housing units in 31 mostly white
A spokesman for Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino
did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Westchester agreed with the federal government to enter the
decree in connection with the settlement of a lawsuit by the
nonprofit Anti-Discrimination Center of Metro New York, and has
since taken many steps toward implementation.
But U.S. District Judge Denise Cote last year found
Westchester in breach by failing to build 28 units at Chappaqua
Station in the town of New Castle.
She also found the county in breach for failing to complete
an analysis acceptable to the Department of Housing and Urban
Development of race-based and other impediments to fair housing.
In Friday's order, a three-judge appeals court panel agreed
that the failure to build the 28 units reflected Westchester's
"inconsistent, slow, and half-hearted" support for the project,
and refusal to use the required "all available means as
appropriate" to counteract local opposition.
It also said HUD had "good reason" to reject Westchester's
analysis of fair housing impediments, including its lack of
adequate strategies to address "problematic" zoning practices.
But the court saved its strongest criticism for the end,
after noting that its order covered Westchester's sixth and
seventh appeals over its compliance with the decree.
"All of these appeals have been rejected, and it is apparent
that the county is engaging in total obstructionism," it said.
"The county would be well-advised to stop making excuses,
and to complete its obligations under the consent decree with
diligence and dispatch," it added.
The Anti-Discrimination Center did not immediately respond
to a request for comment.
The case is U.S. ex rel Anti-Discrimination Center of Metro
New York Inc v Westchester County, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals, No. 16-2540, 16-2549.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Jonathan