County exec claims victory in long-running HUD battle
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino claimed victory Tuesday after announcing the county's long-running battle with the Department of Housing and Urban Development over affordable housing is finally over.
After 11 attempts over the last seven years, HUD accepted the county's analysis on how local zoning codes create barriers to fair housing choices. HUD also agreed on the framework to best address the issue in Westchester.
"It wasn't easy," says Astorino. "At times it got messy and it got loud."
County officials say half of the affordable housing units that were mandated by HUD have already been occupied. There are still units that need to be built, which is why some officials feel the county executive should not be so quick to celebrate.
County Legislator Ken Jenkins says the county executive should be more focused on making sure the rest of the 799 affordable housing units are built.
"It's not worth the fight when we lost $25 million, lost those dollars that are necessary for the various communities," says Jenkins. "It wasn't worth the fight if we're still being monitored by the federal government."
Officials say the county has spent more than $80 million toward building affordable housing, which is $30 million over what was legally mandated.