WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - The Westchester County Government is awaiting a response from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), after legislators and County Executive Robert Astorino cooperatively submitted requests for guidance and clarification on the housing settlement agreement from the federal government.
The county should hear from HUD about its annual action plan by mid-November, according to Thomas Staudter, a press representative for the legislators. The county government requested a more detailed explanations of what zoning should be considered "exclusionary" and guidance on what needs to be done to promote legislation that prevents landlords from discriminating against tenants based on where their income comes from.
Board of Legislators Chair Kenneth Jenkins (D-Yonkers) said he was pleased that the lawmakers, who have a Democratic super-majority, and Astorino, a Republican, chose to submit one document instead of multiple responses last Friday.
"Federal officials and the housing settlement monitor will be certain to note that Westchester County is diligently at work to resolve the impasse and have its five-year action plan approved," Jenkins said in a statement. "Westchester County is a year-and-a-half ahead of schedule in implementing the housing stipulation order."
After Astorino announced his administration was at an impasse with HUD this July, a court-appointed monitor stepped in to help resolve the stalemate over a 2009 settlement that requires Westchester to build 750 units of affordable housing in 31 predominately white communities.
Although shifting funds allowed Westchester to prevent laying off 18 employees working on implementing the $51.6 million settlement, the county will not receive the $7.2 million in federal grants withheld this May until an agreement is reached.
Westchester lawmakers and Astorino have vouched to respect local municipalities' rights to set zoning as outlined in the state constitution. The county government included a letter form the federal government confirming that the settlement does not require Westchester to sue local municipalities over zoning in Friday's submission.