Hasidic Housing Development In Williamsburg Blocked by Federal Judge

01/05/2012 3:31 PM |


A Bloomberg-administration plan to build affordable housing on the border of Williamsburg and Bedford-Stuyvestant has been blocked by a federal judge, the Daily News reports. Opponents of the plan, hatched in 2006, said it would promote segregation; the NYCLU, which brought the suit, alleged it “violates the federal Fair Housing Act, state and city human rights laws, and the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.” Wow.

The planned development, at South Williamsburg’s Broadway Triangle, would have offered 50 percent of its housing to residents of Community Board 1, which encompasses North Brooklyn—and is 60 percent white. But the development abuts Bed-Stuy (Community Board 3), which is 77 percent black, yet only 3 percent of residents in the new housing would have been black, Brooklyn 11211 reports. Plaintiffs contended this “would perpetuate and increase the racial segregation between the two neighborhoods.”

As Brooklyn 11211 reports:

The plaintiffs’ argument—accepted by Judge Goodman—is that the City is required under Federal law to conduct an analysis on the racial impact of all rezonings. Judge Goodman wrote in her ruling that there “can be no compliance with the Fair Housing Act where defendants never analyzed the impact of the community preference”.

Or, as the NYCLU explains, “When it proceeds to develop housing… [the city] must evaluate the potential impact on segregation and develop projects that include the entire community and will create more integrated neighborhoods.” The effects of the case could have long-reaching effects on future city development.

The section of South Williamsburg at issue is predominantly Orthodox Jewish, and some critics of the development have alleged it was an electoral ploy by Bloomberg. As a subhed on Failed Messiah reads, “Sweetheart Satmar housing deal, probably made by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg in return for Satmer bloc votes, ruled discriminatory and illegal by court.”

A commenter on Failed Messiah keeps it classy:

So what do they want, that we should live with behemas? The dark ones do not want to live with the Yidden and the Yidden do not want to live with them. We are to [sic] different. Can you imagine what your shabbos would be like if you had such people on the other side of the wall, the things the kinder would hear and smells of pork in the air, drugs, violence, it is all a fact and everyone knows it. So why should we be the ones to have to live with them?



2 Comment

  • mmmm, the smell of pork and drugs in the air…

  • North Brooklyn politics are labyrinth. Here, the plaintiffs rightfully prevailed, but many of the political players and community persons who supported this lawsuit are also supporters of the CPC/R New Domino plan. I support this ruling, but I wonder how in good conscience we can argue that segregation is being induced in one project while denying it in the other. In all fairness, it’s one thing to accuse public bodies of segregation–we can take up positions on the East River and pretend our enemies are distant and across the water, that City Hall is some absent bully and ‘segregation’ invokes ugly memories of our past. It’s prickly, however, when you consider ‘gentrification,’ because the enemy is too close to home.

    If design can segregate, as plaintiffs argue, then it must also have the power to integrate. Indeed, then design! Design a better Williamsburg, a better North Brooklyn, because this lawsuit’s supporters should remember their victory here when CPC/R eventually lays down their foundation for New Domino.