Garden City is taking its first opportunity to leave an affordable housing consortium of neighboring municipalities.
Six years ago a federal judge ordered the village to join the Nassau County Urban Consortium following a 2005 housing discrimination lawsuit. That order expires in September. Garden City’s village board voted unanimously to leave the group that month, according to Newsday.
The consortium seeks federal funds for affordable housing development and other projects. It includes the county’s two cities, three towns, and 26 of its 64 villages. Garden City never sought a dime for affordable housing through the group.
The village was sued in 2005 after its leaders rezoned land owned by Nassau County for townhomes instead of multifamily housing. A judge in 2013 found that it “acted with discriminatory intent” and that the decision disproportionately affected minorities, according to Newsday.
Garden City is 92 percent white. Lucas Sanchez, deputy director of New York Communities for Change, which was a plaintiff, said Garden City’s decision to leave the consortium is another example of a desire to “keep the village white.”
“They will do whatever they can to keep it that way,” he said.
Garden City is far from the only Long Island municipality to be accused of using planning to keep minorities out. Nor is the only one said to violate federal fair housing laws. Long Island is one of the most segregated suburban areas in the country. The Trump administration has rolled back some of those federal fair housing protections, making the conversation around segregation on Long Island even more fraught.
Kevin Crean, Nassau County’s director for community development, said that Garden City participated in the consortium in good faith but that it was rare that a member did not seek any federal affordable housing funds. Garden City can still independently seek federal affordable housing funds through New York state.
[Newsday] — Dennis Lynch