WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Friday granted Westchester County an injunction that prohibits the Department of Housing and Urban Development from reallocating to other communities approximately $10 million in grants that had been designated for Westchester.
The ruling follows a prior Second Circuit victory for the county in February. County Executive Rob Astorino went to court challenging HUD’s decision to withhold funds from the county on the agency’s assertion that the county was not in compliance with the 2009 federal housing settlement which, calls for developing 750 units of affordable housing in 31 communities by the end of next year. The settlement was approved by Astorino's predecessor, Andrew Spano.
Astorino contended that the county was in compliance with the settlement and that any contention that it was not is for the courts to decide. The Second Circuit unanimously agreed with Westchester County, saying HUD’s actions were subject to “judicial review.”
Over the course of the dispute, HUD has reallocated roughly $10 million designated for Westchester for the years 2011 and 2012 to other communities. Friday's decision prohibits HUD from reallocating another $10 million for 2013 and 2014 that it is currently withholding from the county.
“In February, the court said HUD was subject to the law just like everyone else,” said Astorino. “Today it’s saying HUD has no right to give away the money at the heart of the court case. Both decisions are victories for Westchester and for the country against an aggressive and overreaching federal government.”
The case now continues for a decision on the merits.
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