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Judge Finds Garden City Un-Fair

Village found to be in violation; vows to appeal

On Friday, Dec. 6, Federal District Judge Arthur Spatt ruled that the Village of Garden City violated the Fair Housing Act, and ordered the plaintiffs to submit a proposal for how the village might address the issue, to which the village must then respond.

The case stemmed from a 2004 plan by former County Executive Thomas Suozzi to sell developers the 25-acre site of the Department of Social Services office. Suozzi requested the zoning be changed to allow 311 units of multi-family housing. Negative reaction from the public prompted village officials to limit the zoning to 150 town houses, 90 single-family homes, or a combination of the two with each option allowing for up to 36 multifamily units.

Garden City public servants declined to speak on the record, but an official statement released by village spokesman Ed Grilli denied that racial discrimination motivated the zoning decisions.

“Nothing in the new zoning designation prohibited the building of affordable housing,” Grilli said, indicated the village would mount an appeal as soon as possible. “The village’s decision was made based on legitimate concerns over increased traffic congestion, parking, school and public service impacts and population density.”

The suit was originally filed in 2005 by the non-profit organizations New York Communities for Change and MHANY Management Co., the latter of which is a community-based developer of affordable housing formerly known as the New York ACORN Housing Company, Inc (NYAHC). And while Nassau County was also named as a defendant in the original suit, a summary decision dismissed the case against the county. That left the Incorporated Village of Garden City and the Garden City Board of Trustees the sole defendants. The two-week trial took place over the summer, but the judge’s ruling was released earlier this month.

Justice Spatt’s decision requires the plaintiffs to submit within 30 days a remedial plan to make affordable housing a reality in Garden City. The village will then have 30 days to provide its proposal for a remedial plan followed by a response from the plaintiffs which must be submitted in 15 days. This grand total of 75 days precedes the court issuing another written decision detailing the final steps.

And while the village stated its intent to appeal, according to Frederick Brewington, Esq., co-counsel for the plaintiffs, that can’t happen until the two parties discuss possible remedial actions.

“The matter is not ripe for appeal until the final judgment in this matter is issued,” Brewington explained. “The court has to issue another decision in this case. The court at this point, after receiving the briefings from the parties, will in all likelihood issue another written decision with how to solve the discriminatory actions which Garden City took.”

Other Long Island municipalities have faced similar actions. This recent ruling regarding discriminatory housing practices follows a 2009 lawsuit against the Village of Island Park by the U.S. Justice Department and multiple suits filed against the Town of Huntington dating back to 1969.

News

Michael Stano named to Master Teacher program

Michael Stano of Garden City High School has been named a New York State Master Teacher by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“The Master Teacher Program creates a community of teacher experts dedicated to providing a first-rate learning experience for students across New York, and contributes to our efforts to attract and retain the best and the brightest in our STEM classrooms,” Cuomo said.

Stewart Manor Fire Department to host open house

You hear the horn sound multiple times a day, around the clock, but did you ever wonder what happens during the critical moments after a distress call is made to the firehouse? Who are the volunteers who are stopped in their tracks at the sound of that horn and dash off to help a neighbor in need? You’d be surprised to learn that it could be the gentleman you see walking his dog after work in the evenings, the woman you see standing at the bus stop with her children every morning, or even the young man you used to see playing with his friends in front of your house.


Sports

Registration For The Community Garden Begins

If you are interested in obtaining a plot in Garden City Recreation and Parks’ Community Garden, it is now time to register. Applications will be accepted until May 1. Plots will then be assigned for planting around May 10. If more applications are received than the number of plots available, all applications will be put in a lottery and winners will be notified.

Spring/Summer Adult Tennis Registration Forms Available

The Garden City Recreation Department will conduct evening tennis lessons for adults who are residents of the Inc. Village of Garden City at the Community Park tennis facility. The lessons will run for one hour each week in three sessions during the spring/summer months. The registrant has a choice of a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday class and a choice of time. There will be a maximum of four players per court. The dates and fees will be as follows:

Easter Egg Hunt For Pre-K To Grade 5

The Garden City Recreation Department is once again sponsoring the annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 19 at Community Park’s fields. This Year Three hunt will be held at 10 a.m. sharp with three age divisions: preschool to kindergarten, grades 1 and 2; and grades 3 to 5.

Special eggs will be stuffed and hidden for all divisions. Each hunt will also feature a grand prize (an Easter basket filled with goodies) which will go to the youngster who finds the egg marked “#1 Lucky Egg.” For further information about the hunt, please call the recreation department at 516-465-4075.


Calendar

Going To The Birds (Sanctuary)

Saturday, April 26

Nassau Coaches Meet

Saturday, April 26

Making A Beautiful Noise

Friday, May 2



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com