ruling handed down Friday that states a 2004 Garden City zoning ordinance intentionally discriminated against minorities in an attempt to keep them from living in the village and intend to file an appeal "at the earliest possible time."Village officials said they are "extremely disappointed" in a U.S. District Court
Judge Arthur Spatt said the village violated the federal Fair Housing Act, the United States Constitution and other civil rights statutes when it illegally discriminated "on the basis of race and national origin against minorities in Nassau County" and "perpetuated deep-seated segregation that has allowed Garden City to remain an overwhelmingly white enclave surrounded by predominantly minority neighboring towns."
Village officials, in a formal statement, said:
"There was no discriminatory intent on behalf of the village when, in 2004, it enacted a zoning change for the 25-acre Social Services site owned by the county. The village made the change at the request of the former county executive who wanted to maximize the purchase price of the property.
"The zoning that the village enacted, Residential-Townhouse (R-T), would have allowed for the construction of 90 single-family homes or up to 150 townhouses as well as an additional 36 multi-family units. Nothing in the new zoning designation prohibited the building of affordable housing. The village's decision was made based on legitimate concerns over increased traffic congestion, parking, school and public service impacts and population density.
"The village is also disappointed that the court found that the new zoning had an unintentional discriminatory impact and strongly believes that there is no federal law or evidence to support this claim.
"The village prides itself in treating everyone with respect and dignity, as well as its attentiveness to deliver quality services, in a cost effective manner. The village will continue to work diligently on behalf of its residents and it is confident in its position on appeal."