From the NY Times:
A Manhattan judge has scheduled a hearing next month to determine whether the city’s plan to develop public housing in a rundown patch of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, would essentially foster segregation.
In a 22-page decision issued on Thursday, the judge, Emily Jane Goodman of State Supreme Court, indicated that there might be some merit in claims that the city’s plan to construct public housing in what is known as the Broadway Triangle could have a discriminatory effect.
A coalition of community groups in Williamsburg said the city and its allies charged forward with the plan without a competitive bidding process and without including a largely nonwhite group that would be affected by the project. The city awarded development bids to two nonprofit groups, the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, which represents part of the fast-growing Hasidic community, and the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council.
Although units in the housing projects would be awarded in a lottery, the Broadway Triangle Community Coalition, which filed a lawsuit to stop the project, said the project was zoned to allow primarily white and Hasidic residents to obtain units.
For example, residents of the predominantly white Community Board 1 area would be given first choice on half of the units, according to Justice Goodman’s decision. (The entire development would be within the Community Board 1 boundaries, but part of the Broadway Triangle lies in the mostly nonwhite Community Board 2 area, the judge wrote.)
The zoning calls for buildings that are six or seven stories high, a move opponents said was intended to accommodate Hasidics, who cannot use elevators on the Sabbath for religious reasons. The plans also call for large apartments, which opponents said would also accommodate Hasidics, who typically have large families.