Huntington Branch NAACP v. Town of Huntington, NY, No. CV-81-0541.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
Writing for the CourtGLASSER
Citation668 F. Supp. 762
PartiesHUNTINGTON BRANCH, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE, Housing Help, Inc., Mabel Harris, Perrepper Crutchfield, and Kenneth L. Cofield, Plaintiffs, v. The TOWN OF HUNTINGTON, NEW YORK, Kenneth C. Butterfield, Claire Kroft, Kenneth Deegan, Edward Thompson, and Joseph Clemente, Defendants.
Docket NumberNo. CV-81-0541.
Decision Date09 September 1987

668 F. Supp. 762

HUNTINGTON BRANCH, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE, Housing Help, Inc., Mabel Harris, Perrepper Crutchfield, and Kenneth L. Cofield, Plaintiffs,
v.
The TOWN OF HUNTINGTON, NEW YORK, Kenneth C. Butterfield, Claire Kroft, Kenneth Deegan, Edward Thompson, and Joseph Clemente, Defendants.

No. CV-81-0541.

United States District Court, E.D. New York.

September 9, 1987.


668 F. Supp. 763

Richard F. Bellman, Steel Bellman & Levine, P.C., New York City, Charles F. Sanders, Nat. Ass'n for the Advancement of Colored People, Brooklyn, N.Y., for plaintiffs.

Richard C. Cahn, Cahn Wishod Wishod & Lamb, Melville, N.Y., for defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

GLASSER, District Judge:

The complaint in this housing discrimination action was filed on February 23, 1981. Two of the claims from the initial complaint survive: (1) plaintiffs allege that the Town of Huntington, New York has violated title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq., as well as the fourteenth amendment's equal protection clause and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1982 and 1983, by (a) restricting private construction of multi-family housing units to an urban renewal area and (b) refusing to take action to provide multi-family zoning for the Matinecock Court development proposed by plaintiff Housing Help, Inc.; (2) plaintiffs also allege that the denial of multi-family zoning violates N.Y. Town Law § 261 (McKinney 1987), as construed in Berenson v. Town of New Castle, 38 N.Y.2d 102, 341 N.E.2d 236, 378 N.Y.S.2d 672 (1975).

The complaint also named as defendants the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and its secretary. The federal defendants moved for judgment on the pleadings; the Huntington defendants moved to dismiss or for summary judgment. Holding that the plaintiffs lacked standing, the district court dismissed the complaint. Huntington Branch NAACP v. Town of Huntington, New York, 530 F.Supp. 838 (E.D.N.Y.1981).

668 F. Supp. 764
The court of appeals reversed and remanded. 689 F.2d 391 (2d Cir.1982), cert. denied, 460 U.S. 1069, 103 S.Ct. 1523, 75 L.Ed.2d 947 (1983). The plaintiffs had not appealed the dismissal with respect to the federal defendants, id. at 393 n. 3, so the action proceeded against the Huntington defendants. After the ruling of the court of appeals, this action was reassigned to the undersigned

On November 7, 1983, this court certified the case as a class action, with the class represented by plaintiffs defined as:

All black, Hispanic and lower income persons in need of lower cost housing opportunities in Huntington and surrounding areas and who would qualify for residency in the proposed Matinecock Court and other Section 8 projects in Huntington, and who seek to reside in and insure opportunity for racially and economically integrated housing in Huntington.

"Section 8" is a reference to a new construction housing program authorized by 42 U.S.C. § 1437f.

A defense motion to dismiss or for summary judgment was denied on May 13, 1984. The action was tried, without a jury, from May 28, 1985 through June 14, 1985.

I. Stipulations

The parties have stipulated to the following facts. The 1980 census showed that the population of the Town of Huntington was 197,089, classified as follows: 187,794 whites, 6,183 blacks, 4,666 Hispanics, and 2,445 Asians. The census also showed that there were 51,793 families, classified as 49,662 white, 1,435 black, 1,073 Hispanic, and 542 Asian. Thus, Huntington's population was 3.35% black.

Certain HUD programs use "very low income" guidelines. These guidelines are set at approximately 185% of the poverty level.

In 1961 through 1963, as part of the "workable program" requirements of federal urban renewal statutes, and in coordination with the preparation of the Town's master plan, the Town's Planning Board caused various town-wide studies to be prepared to determine the condition of the available housing stock in the Town. The study identified 2,220 dwelling units that were termed inadequate and unsafe. The greatest concentration of these substandard dwelling units was in the area that subsequently became the urban renewal area. The study found 458 substandard housing units within a ½-mile radius of the Huntington railroad station. After the enactment of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 (HCDA), and based upon the findings of the 1961-63 study, the Town designated certain areas as community development areas (CDAs).

On March 4, 1964, the Town Board created the Public Housing District and rezoned the land upon which the public housing project known as Gateway Gardens is now located to the Public Housing District zoning classification.

In 1965, the Planning Board, pursuant to section 272-a of the New York Town Law, adopted a master plan for the Town. The master plan described, among other things, the decline in the Huntington Station area. It recommended slum clearance and redevelopment in that area, accompanied by provision of safe and adequate housing for displaced families. The master plan does not call for high density housing or multi-family dwellings at the intersection of Elwood and Pulaski Roads. The intersection of Elwood and Pulaski is where plaintiff Housing Help, Inc. (HHI) possesses an option to build.

On May 26, 1966, the Town Board, acting pursuant to title I of the Housing Act of 1949 and article 15 of New York's General Municipal Law, adopted a resolution approving an urban renewal plan involving

the acquisition of land in the project area; the demolition or removal of buildings and improvements; and the installation, construction or reconstruction of project improvements, to make land available for development or redevelopment by private enterprises or public agencies, as authorized by law and to carry out plans for a program of repair and rehabilitation of buildings or other improvements.

One of the Town Board's findings was that

financial assistance under the provisions of Title I of the Housing Act of 1949, as
668 F. Supp. 765
amended, is necessary to enable the land in the Project area to be renewed in accordance with the Urban Renewal Plan for the Project area and, accordingly, the filing by the Local Public Agency of an application or applications for such financial assistance under Title I is hereby approved.

On July 21, 1966, the Town Board conducted a public hearing to consider amendments to the Building Zone Ordinance that would add provisions for garden apartments and a retirement community district. A hearing on the proposed R-RM zoning (which covers senior citizen housing) was held on that date. The Town Board created the R-RM District in August 1966 and rezoned real property owned by Health Care Agencies of the New York Annual Conference of the Methodist Church, Inc. (the Methodist Church) to the new R-RM district in December 1966. The Methodist Church had applied for the zoning change to R-RM status.

The New York State Legislature established the Huntington Urban Renewal Agency, effective April 10, 1967, by enactment of chapter 222 of the laws of 1967. On June 6, 1967, the Town Board adopted a resolution approving Amendment No. 1 to the Urban Renewal Project, NYR-164. On November 25, 1969, the Town Board adopted Amendment No. 2 to the urban renewal plan, which contained a Neighborhood Design Concept Plan, providing for "an integrated residential and commercial development" with a proposed pedestrian bridge over New York Avenue. This plan also called for garden apartments and office and commercial development on the northeast corner of Broadway and New York Avenue. On June 3, 1969, the Town Board established the R-3M Garden Apartment District. In February 1969, the Town Board had adopted height, area, and bulk regulations applicable to the proposed R-3M district. On December 30, 1969, upon recommendation of the Planning Board, the Town Board rezoned to R-3M the land upon which Walt Whitman Village is now located, and the land upon which the Town in 1980 proposed a 150-unit section 8 development at the northeast corner of the intersection of Route 110 and Broadway in Huntington Station.

Acting under its statutory authority, the Huntington Urban Renewal Agency entered into an agreement on July 22, 1971 with a partnership known as Melville Industrial Associates (MIA). The purpose of the agreement was to secure development of three contiguous parcels (Redevelopment Parcels 2, 3, and 25) within the Urban Renewal Area for multi-family dwellings, as part of the Urban Renewal Redevelopment Plan.

On February 15, 1972, the Town Board rezoned certain property located on the south side of Pulaski Road from R-40 Residence District to R-RM Retirement Community District and C-5 Planned Shopping Center District, in order to facilitate the construction of 300 units of senior citizen housing that became Paumanack Village and a shopping center adjacent thereto. This rezoning was upon the application of Raval Associates and Senior Citizens Housing Committee of Huntington, Inc., and took place after a recommendation by the Planning Board and a public hearing of the Town Board.

On May 9, 1972 and May 25, 1973, pursuant to the July 22, 1971 agreement concerning Redevelopment Parcels 2, 3, and 25, the Urban Renewal Agency conveyed to MIA the three contiguous parcels situated at the northeast corner of the intersection of New York Avenue and Broadway.

On January 25, February 1, and March 1, 1977, the Town Board held public hearings with regard to the Town's 1977 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application. On January 14, 1978, the Town Board conducted a public hearing regarding the 1978-79 CDBG application, and, on February 27, 1979, the Town Board held a public hearing regarding the 1980 CDBG application.

On July 20, 1978, Michael Miness, the director of the Huntington Community Development Agency (CDA), sent a letter to the residents of Huntington Station in the vicinity of...

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    ...of overtly discriminatory remarks proves an absencePage 40of discrimination." Huntington Branch, N.A.A.C.P. v. Town of Huntington, N.Y., 668 F. Supp. 762, 786 (E.D.N.Y. 1987), rev'd on other grounds, 844 F.2d 926 (2d Cir. 1988) (noting that findings of discrimination cannot "be avoided by c......
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    ...Development Corp. v. Village of Arlington Heights, 558 F.2d 1283 (7th Cir.1977). See Huntington Branch, NAACP v. Town of Huntington, 668 F.Supp. 762, 785–87 (E.D.N.Y.1987) (considering (1) strength of plaintiff's showing of discriminatory effect, (2) whether there is some evidence of discri......
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    ...for funding. Id. at 932. Reversing the district court, which had applied an intent-based standard for the disparate impact claim, 668 F.Supp. 762, 786 (E.D.N.Y.1987), the Second Circuit relied on the legislative history of Title VIII, the parallel between Title VIII and Title VII of the Civ......
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    • February 17, 1993
    ...F.2d 1048 2d Cir.1992; 844 F.2d 926 2d Cir.1988; 689 F.2d 391 2d Cir.1982; 762 F.Supp. 528 E.D.N.Y.1991; 749 F.Supp. 62 E.D.N.Y. 1990; 668 F.Supp. 762 E.D.N.Y.1987; 530 F.Supp. 838 E.D.N.Y.1981.) Giving plaintiffs' counsel every benefit of the doubt, the Court cannot view the expenditure of......
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9 cases
  • Township of Warren, In re
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • April 1, 1993
    ...for funding. Id. at 932. Reversing the district court, which had applied an intent-based standard for the disparate impact claim, 668 F.Supp. 762, 786 (E.D.N.Y.1987), the Second Circuit relied on the legislative history of Title VIII, the parallel between Title VIII and Title VII of the Civ......
  • Cabrera v. Fischler, CV 87-2675 (ADS).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • February 17, 1993
    ...F.2d 1048 2d Cir.1992; 844 F.2d 926 2d Cir.1988; 689 F.2d 391 2d Cir.1982; 762 F.Supp. 528 E.D.N.Y.1991; 749 F.Supp. 62 E.D.N.Y. 1990; 668 F.Supp. 762 E.D.N.Y.1987; 530 F.Supp. 838 E.D.N.Y.1981.) Giving plaintiffs' counsel every benefit of the doubt, the Court cannot view the expenditure of......
  • Mhany Mgmt. Inc. v. Cnty. of Nassau, 05–CV–2301 (ADS)(WDW).
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    • February 15, 2012
    ...of overtly discriminatory remarks proves an absence of discrimination.” Huntington Branch, N.A.A.C.P. v. Town of Huntington, N.Y., 668 F.Supp. 762, 786 (E.D.N.Y.1987), rev'd on other grounds, 844 F.2d 926 (2d Cir.1988) (noting that findings of discrimination cannot “be avoided by careful us......
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    • February 15, 2012
    ...of overtly discriminatory remarks proves an absence of discrimination." Huntington Branch, N.A.A.C.P. v. Town of Huntington, N.Y., 668 F. Supp. 762, 786 (E.D.N.Y. 1987), rev'd on other grounds, 844 F.2d 926 (2d Cir. 1988) (noting that findings of discrimination cannot "be avoided by careful......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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