see the Article in HERE
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino appears on the Phil Reisman Show Aug. 15, 2013. / Peter Carr/The Journal News
Westchester County has lost its fight with the federal government over $7.4 million in community development grants for municipalities and nonprofits to help low-income residents.
A federal appeals court cleared the way Friday for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to send the money to other communities in the New York area.
The ruling came down late Friday after arguments in the morning before a panel of judges in Manhattan.
Ned McCormack, a spokesman for County Executive Rob Astorino, said HUD is only hurting the people it’s supposed to help. “HUD has succeeded in winning that battle but the county remains firm in its belief that HUD has no right to dismantle local zoning,” he said.
HUD has withheld the funding, appropriated in 2011, for three years in an effort to force Westchester to analyze local zoning impediments to fair housing as part of a court settlement. The county said it found no impediments and challenged HUD in court after the agency said it must reallocate the money before the appropriation expires Sept. 30.
Astorino, who has made the housing settlement a major part of his campaign for re-election, has argued HUD’s goal is to dismantle local zoning.
But HUD officials dispute that and local Democratic officials blame Astorino for the loss of the funds.
“I think that the positions he has taken have been purely political grandstanding and that grandstanding has now cost the county a significant amount of money,” said Legislator Lyndon Williams, D-Mount Vernon.
Some of the 2011 money is expected to go to Yonkers, Mount Vernon, White Plains and New Rochelle, which apply separately for grants.