Keith v. Volpe, Civ. No. 72-355-HP.

Decision Date03 September 1985
Docket NumberCiv. No. 72-355-HP.
Citation618 F. Supp. 1132
CourtU.S. District Court — Central District of California
PartiesRalph W. KEITH and Esther May Keith, husband and wife; Harold E. Grady, and Edith W. Grady, husband and wife; James B. Gillispie and Helen M. Gillispie, husband and wife, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a nonprofit corporation; the Sierra Club, a nonprofit corporation; Environmental Defense Fund, Inc., a nonprofit corporation; Freeway Fighters, an unincorporated association; City of Hawthorne, a municipal corporation, Plaintiffs, v. John A. VOLPE, individually and as Secretary of Transportation; Sheridan A. Farin, individually and as Administrator for Region 7, Federal Highway Administration, Department of Transportation; Donald E. Trull, individually and as Division Engineer, Federal Highway Administration, Department of Transportation; California Highway Commission; California Department of Public Works; James A. Moe, individually and as Director of California Department of Public Works; Robert Datel, individually and as State Highway Engineer, California Division of Highways, California Department of Public Works, Defendants. Earl WRIGHT, Rose Kimball Hillman, Pablo Zapeta, and Minnie Hadley, Additional Plaintiffs on Supplemental Complaint, v. CITY OF HAWTHORNE, a municipal corporation; City Council of the City of Hawthorne; Betty J. Ainsworth, Steve Andersen, Chuck Bookhammer, Guy J. Hocker, and David M. York, as members of the City Council of the City of Hawthorne, Defendants on Supplemental Complaint. California Department of Housing and Community Development; California Department of Transportation, Intervenors on Supplemental Complaint. Goldrich & Kest, Inc., a California Corporation, Intervenors on Supplemental Complaint.



Center for Law in the Public Interest, Bill Lann Lee, Elsa Leyva, Los Angeles, Cal., for the plaintiffs.

Department of Transp., Bruce Behrens, Joel G. Philipp, Sacramento, Cal., for the State of California.

Burke, Williams & Sorensen, Richard R. Terzian, Cristina L. Sierra, Los Angeles, Cal., for the City of Hawthorne.

Office of the Atty. Gen., Los Angeles, Cal., for the Dept. of Housing and Community Development.

Richard H. Levin, A Law Corp., Stephen A. Seideman, Los Angeles, Cal., for Goldrich & Kest, Inc., a California Corp.

                                  TABLE OF CONTENTS
                FACTS ........................................ 1136
                JURISDICTION ................................. 1145
                ANALYSIS ..................................... 1147
                 Title VIII .................................. 1147
                   Plaintiffs' Prima Facie Case .............. 1148
                   Supplemental Defendants' Justifications ... 1152
                 California Government Code § 65008 ..... 1157
                   Discrimination on the Basis of Race ....... 1157
                   Discrimination on the Basis of Income ..... 1158
                   Discrimination on the Basis of Government
                   Assistance ................................ 1159
                CONCLUSION ................................... 1160
                APPENDIX A ................................... 1160



PREGERSON, Circuit Judge.

In February of 1972, persons living in the path of the proposed I-105 or Century Freeway, the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and others1 filed this environmental and civil rights lawsuit against state and federal governmental officials.2 In April of 1972, the plaintiffs amended the complaint to add the city of Hawthorne, located in the path of the freeway, as an additional plaintiff. The First Amended Complaint requested injunctive and declaratory relief that would require governmental officials to comply with federal and state laws designed to (1) protect the environment; (2) assure the availability of decent, safe, and sanitary replacement housing to displaced homeowners and tenants; and (3) eliminate discrimination against minority and poor persons seeking replacement housing.

In July of 1972, this court preliminarily enjoined further work on the freeway project until federal and state officials complied with environmental protection and relocation assistance statutes. Keith v. Volpe, 352 F.Supp. 1324 (C.D.Cal.1972), aff'd en banc sub nom. Keith v. California Highway Commission, 506 F.2d 696 (9th Cir.1974), cert. denied, 420 U.S. 908, 95 S.Ct. 826, 42 L.Ed.2d 837 (1975).

After this court's decision, the parties entered into negotiations that culminated in the Amended Final Consent Decree (the Consent Decree). On September 22, 1981, this court approved the Consent Decree, dissolved the preliminary injunction, and permitted further work on the freeway project pursuant to the decree's provisions. Under paragraphs VI and VIII of the decree, this court retained jurisdiction to enforce or amend the decree until the court enters a Judgment of Dismissal after full compliance with all terms of the decree. Amended Final Consent Decree at pp. 15-16.

One of the purposes of the decree is "to provide for the housing needs of those living in the area of the proposed path of the freeway."3 Amended Final Consent Decree at p. 3. In particular, the decree requires that state and federal defendants provide freeway displacees with 3700 units of decent, safe, and sanitary replenishment housing either by rehabilitating existing structures or constructing new units. Id., Exhibit B at pp. 1-4. Replenishment housing is to be provided in accordance with the decree's "Housing Plan." Amended Final Consent Decree at pp. 4, 15. The decree incorporates an Exhibit B entitled "Development and Implementation of Housing Plan," detailing the state and federal defendants' commitments to "the provision of housing as part of the I-105 project in order to replenish the housing stock of communities affected by the freeway and to relocate persons now residing within the right-of-way." Id., Exhibit B at p. 1. The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is the lead agency responsible for coordinating and implementing the Housing Plan. Id., Exhibit B at p. 9. The decree also establishes a Housing Advisory Committee, which includes representatives of each of the cities affected by the freeway, to assist HCD in preparing the Housing Plan. Id., Exhibit B at pp. 11-14.

Exhibit B sets out certain basic parameters HCD must follow in preparing the Housing Plan. Amended Final Consent Decree, Exhibit B at p. 16. Under the Housing Plan, 55% of all replenishment units must be affordable to low income households and 25% must be affordable to moderate income households.4 Low and moderate income households displaced by the Freeway must be given first priority to occupy the replenishment rental units.5 Finally, the Housing Plan must place as many of the units as possible in the "primary zone"—i.e., a zone six miles on each side of the proposed Century Freeway right-of-way.6

The freeway, when completed, will run through the northern edge of Hawthorne, affecting census tracts 6017, 6020.02, 6021.01, and 6027. Although the freeway will reduce Hawthorne's housing stock by approximately 1,104 household units, the Housing Plan allocates only 275 units of replenishment housing to be built in Hawthorne.7 Moreover, to date, there are only two Century Freeway-related housing projects pending construction in Hawthorne: a 44 unit condominium development and a 26 unit apartment development, neither of which required any zone changes, lot divisions, or special use permits from the city. Exhibit 202 at pp. 3-4. There is also a 42 unit condominium development on property that the city is presently in the process of annexing and 16 single family dwellings outside the city limits, but within Hawthorne's sphere of influence. Id. Even including the developments outside of Hawthorne's city limits, there are only 128 units of housing pending development out of a total of 275 units allocated.

The litigation presently before this court concerns two Century Freeway apartment developments proposed to be constructed in the Moneta Gardens area of Hawthorne.

The first, the "Cerise Development," located at 14330 Cerise Avenue, consists of 32 apartment units. On January 26, 1984, the developer, Shapell Housing, Inc., filed applications with Hawthorne's Planning Department for a change of zone from M-1 (limited industrial) to R-3 (high density residential) and for a site development permit. The Century Freeway Housing Program had approved the project and the State had agreed to fund it pursuant to the decree.8 Exhibit 6 at p. 2.

The Planning Department recommended approval of the applications, stating that:

Staff analysis of the unit design and project density finds it to be a good example of a high density development that adequately mitigates the overpowering mass of typical high density residential developments. Also, the spacial arrangement of the units, in staff's opinion, creates a living environment which is protective and complimentary with other residential development in the area.

Exhibit 6 at p. 2.

However, "notwithstanding" the project's advantages, the staff noted that "the project is unique to the city as it is funded by a State agency." Id. The staff concluded that the Consent Decree's requirement that 55% of the units be rented to low income tenants conflicted with the city's policy "to support the dispersion of low income housing" because "the project clearly presents itself as a concentration of low or moderate income households." Id. at p. 3. Therefore, the staff recommended approval of the developer's applications on condition that the developer record a covenant providing that only 20% of the units could be rented to low income households. Id. at 5. The Planning Department staff subsequently revised its recommendation...

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8 cases
  • Keith v. Volpe
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • September 19, 1988
    ...and after conducting evidentiary proceedings, enjoined the City from prohibiting construction of the units. Keith v. Volpe, 618 F.Supp. 1132, 1160 (C.D.Cal.1985). It then awarded attorney's fees and costs to the plaintiffs. Keith v. Volpe, 644 F.Supp. 1317, 1327 The City of Hawthorne, Hawth......
  • Huntington Branch NAACP v. Town of Huntington, NY
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of New York
    • September 9, 1987
    ...mecums are Brown v. Artery Organization, Inc., 654 F.Supp. 1106 (D.D.C. 1987) (Greene, J.), and Keith v. Volpe, 618 F.Supp. 1132 (C.D.Cal.1985) (Pregerson, Cir. J., sitting by designation). Brown took note some of the decisions hold, or at least intimate, that evidence of discriminatory eff......
  • United States v. St. Bernard Parish
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Louisiana
    • April 19, 2013
    ...effect, the burden shifts to the defendant to demonstrate that non-discriminatory reasons justify its conduct. Keith v. Volpe, 618 F. Supp. 1132, 1148 (C.D. Ca. 1985). If thedefendant offers no valid non-discriminatory reason for its actions, then the plaintiff has succeeded in proving a vi......
  • Keith v. Volpe, 96-56437
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • July 9, 1997
    ...F.Supp. 1448 (C.D.Cal.1997); 965 F.Supp. 1337 (C.D.Cal.1996); 644 F.Supp. 1312 (C.D.Cal.1986); 643 F.Supp. 37 (C.D.Cal.1985); 618 F.Supp. 1132 (C.D.Cal.1985); 501 F.Supp. 403 (C.D.Cal.1980); 352 F.Supp. 1324 (C.D.Cal.1972); and appeals, Keith v. Volpe, 858 F.2d 467 (9th Cir.1988); 833 F.2d ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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