FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 21, 2015
Diane L. Houk, Esq., Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, 212-763-5000
Geoffrey Anderson, Westchester Residential Opportunities, 914-428-4507
Westchester Residential Opportunities Settles Housing Discrimination Lawsuit against Bronxville, NY and Developer
White Plains, NY – Westchester Residential Opportunities (WRO) has settled a lawsuit for alleged discrimination against families with children by the Village of Bronxville, NY, and Gateway Kensington LLC, an arm of Greenwich, CT-based developer Fareri Associates. Filed by WRO in federal court on January 15, 2015, the lawsuit claimed that the actions of the defendants violated the Fair Housing Act and New York State Human Rights Law.
The terms of the settlement include the elimination by Bronxville of an “age-targeted” special permit from its zoning code. WRO will train Bronxville officials and staff in fair housing laws. The Village will host a fair housing workshop for the public. Defendants agreed to allow WRO to monitor its records on settlement compliance for four years. The Village will pay WRO $95,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees. Bronxville and Gateway Kensington denied the allegations and did not admit liability.
Bronxville had granted to Gateway Kensington an “age-targeted” special permit for 54 condominiums to be “designed to appeal primarily to individuals and couples without children,” according to the Village’s zoning code. Under the settlement, the Kensington site will now offer purchasers a den/bedroom option, will include a sandbox play area for children, and its marketing materials will incorporate images of families with children.
Executive Director Geoffrey Anderson of WRO stated: “WRO works to ensure that families are welcome wherever they choose to live in the Lower Hudson Valley. Families with children, people amid adoptions, and pregnant women are all protected from housing discrimination by law. I am pleased that this matter is now settled and that Bronxville has eliminated its discriminatory permit category. WRO’s staff will continue to work to expand housing opportunity and fight housing discrimination.”
WRO’s attorneys were Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP of New York City.
The work that provided the basis for this press release was supported by funding provided through a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Founded in 1968, WRO is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote equal, affordable, and accessible housing opportunities for all residents of its region.