Wednesday, September 21, 2016

HUD & Ridgeland settle


The battle of the dueling press releases.  HUD issued this statement on its website:

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today an agreement with Ridgeland, Mississippi to resolve complaints the city violated the Fair Housing Act when it passed and enforced a zoning ordinance that HUD claimed was motivated by racial animus and created a discriminatory effect on the city’s African American residents.  Read the agreement.
 
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful for cities and municipalities to enact housing ordinances that discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.

“While zoning is the primary responsibility of local government, it cannot be used as a vehicle for discriminating against minority families through a campaign of depopulation,” said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Everyone, regardless of their race, should have the opportunity to live where they choose and HUD will continue to take appropriate action when that right is violated.”

In December of 2015, HUD filed a fair housing complaint against the city after receiving reports that a number of apartment complexes faced possible demolition after the city instituted a new zoning requirement that lowered the allowable density.  Specifically, HUD complained the city’s new zoning ordinance called for several of the apartment complexes with the highest minority populations to be amortized, putting more than 1,400 units at risk of being replaced with mixed-use developments.  HUD also alleged that other majority minority complexes were subjected to lower density restrictions, which could have resulted in a loss of hundreds of additional apartment units.

Under the Conciliation Agreement, the city of Ridgeland agrees to amend the 2014 Ordinance so that multifamily properties are treated as they were prior to the Ordinance when it comes to use and density; provide notice to property managers and/or owners of multifamily properties in advance of any public hearings contemplating changes to existing zoning, land use, and occupancy policies; and process all zoning, land use, building and occupancy approvals and permits in good faith and in a timely manner. The city also agreed to submit to HUD a proposed Affordable and Fair Housing Marketing Plan which encourages the development of mixed income communities and provides tangible steps for conducting outreach and engaging the residents of Southeastern Ridgeland in the community planning process. 

However, Ridgeland issued this statement as well:

The City of Ridgeland is pleased to announce that the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has ended its investigation of the City related to the 2014 Zoning Ordinance and that the matter has been amicably resolved.  In its zoning actions, the City sought to ensure and improve the health, safety and welfare of its citizens, regardless of race, including the citizens of the affected apartment complexes.  The City remains committed to that goal. Many of the requirements in the Conciliation Agreement voluntarily entered into by the City were already the practice of the City.  Only the Madison County Circuit Court has issued rulings with regard to the zoning ordinance, and in all five cases, the Court ruled in favor of the City, finding its actions legal and constitutional. Resolution with HUD allows the City to continue to move forward with its goal of improving the health, safety and welfare of all of its citizens.  Under the agreement, the density requirement will remain in effect and the mixed use zoning that affects six apartment complexes will remain in place but their nonconformities will be grandfathered.

The agreement is posted below. 



17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Those poor people who live in those apartments are being taken advantage of by the slum lords. They are in terrible condition. The slum lords take the federal money and then do nothing to keep the apartments in repair. The tenants and taxpayers get screwed.

Anonymous said...

So, Ridgeland backed down. The Constitution and property rights are still alive. Barely.

Anonymous said...

"Those poor people" have a choice in where to live. That's how the free market works.

Anonymous said...

Anony 3:17, didn’t Ridgeland's new ordinances apply to all complexes?

Slum lords should be forced to maintain their properties, but the ordinances were created to decrease the number rentable units, i.e. tenants; and the ordinance would have been applied to all complexes regardless of condition. The run down apartments were used a s smoke screen to capitalize on “the stupidity of the Ridgeland voter.”

How long has Gene McGee been mayor of Ridgeland? 27+ years? And how many apartment complex units have been built over the last 27 years? Gene McGee was happy to pass out construction permits for apartments to his campaign contributors but now wants to push poor people out of Ridgeland. If you didn’t want apartments, you should not have issued the permits to build them.

Pearl is trying a different version of the same scam. The “trailer capital of Mississippi” is trying to “destroy the mobile home parks via attrition” with egregious ordinances designed to “bankrupt the businesses.” All of this in an attempt to force poor tenants to move elsewhere.

Where are the property rights advocates; the Realtors, the Home Builders Multifamily Council, etc.? Their silence is deafening and they all should be ashamed!

Anonymous said...

As a resident and tax payer in the City of Ridgeland, and also of the USA, I call bull shit on the 'marketing plan'. I understand that HUD wanted to pretend that it got something out of this - but it did get something. The existing complexes are grandfathered. That should have been the sum total of this. All the rest of it is a total waste of my tax money, both local and federal.

Anonymous said...

It's not about "poor" people.....Gene and company realized that Ridgeland is now Jackson.

The idea was to reduce affordable housing and keep black folks and Hispanics from multiplying.

Gene and his crew were 2 decades late and millions short.

Crime will continue to grow, existing apartments will decline, Northpark will stay on its death spiral.....Ticos and Amerigo will be Creshales north in a decade.

Democrats will soon run the city of Ridgeland....and oh boy....that includes lots of fancy new west of 55.

Anonymous said...

When you think about it, the FEDS are 100% wrong about the legal part of this. The person would would suffer legal damages buy this changing of zoning laws is the property owner. The property owner probably has a bank loan that is based on his renting X number of units. If the city changes the number of units he can rent, his whole purchase of the property doesn't compute.
The tenants, on the other hand, are renting by the month with an agreement for no more than a year. If the city allows the landlords a year to comply with the changes, the tenants are no more legally damaged than they would be if the place were sold and turn into a shopping center. That is, they are not damaged at all. They go rent somewhere else.
But of course the current administration in Washington cannot miss any chance to cry discrimination about anything, anytime, anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Poor people? Really? Black and brown people most likely. Yep, that's what I think.

Anonymous said...

It is becoming difficult for widows and divorced women who don't want to maintain a house or property and for young people just out of high school or college or in college to find apartments or even small zero lot homes.
I would also point out that those people who work at the stores and restaurants that are in Madison and Ridgeland may not be making enough income to afford and maintain a house so their disposable income is reduced by the travel to and from work.
Try to find a nice, well maintained apartment in Madison or Ridgeland. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

How many apartments are in Madison @5:56? Are they in a run down condition?

Burt BakarACK said...

5:56; you can't even find a poorly maintained apartment in Madison. Sheesh. What's this all about, Alfie?

Stealin' Your Grill said...

People who live in apartments, as a way of life, tend to define their own circumstances. If they are orderly, care about their surroundings, respect themselves and the property of others, their surroundings will reflect that. If not, they will move.

If they are vagrants or slovenly or move from place to place with no ties and no concern for living in and around slop and like minded citizens (or non-citizens), their surroundings will reflect THAT.

Color doesn't really matter. It's a mindset. It's personal expectations and the expectations one has for others.

Messick said...

Just as an aside, take a look at this Gustavo Velasquez's resume; Zero work in the private sector.

I'm looking for his place of residence, though I bet it's in a nice area of northern Virginia, far away from decaying apartment complexes filled with Section 8 rentals.

Anonymous said...

In a prior life 1 of my duties was to inspect the properties our company held the mortgage on. I witnessed brand new apartments destroyed by renters in these government sponsored apartments. If people have no reason to "work up the ladder" to better living conditions then why do it. Those that work and grow don't want to live with Section 8 rentals either. Let the market control the rentals. Give folks a reason do "do better" and a place to go. Jackson is a perfect example of how the other way works.

Anonymous said...

10:21 AM

Maybe you are jaded because of how you saw Section 8 work here...but in other areas of the country it works very well. If a tenant tears up a house...out the door he goes with very little notice. Rates are much higher in other areas too incentivizing landlords to put their properties in the system...which is not the case in Jackson.

I think if rents were increased for landlords here, tenants were required to have some type of job, and tenants could be evicted with little notice for damage to the property....things would change quickly in Jackson....until then....what you saw is what we will continue to get.

Anonymous said...

"Under the Conciliation Agreement, the city of Ridgeland agrees to amend the 2014 Ordinance so that multifamily properties are treated as they were prior to the Ordinance when it comes to use and density; provide notice to property managers and/or owners of multifamily properties in advance of any public hearings contemplating changes to existing zoning, land use, and occupancy policies; and process all zoning, land use, building and occupancy approvals and permits in good faith and in a timely manner."

Gene's not good about "public hearings" and "good faith." He's all about stealth and deceit.

Anonymous said...

Keep a watch on the new mega-apartment complex just opening in Fondren. It's on Taylor beyond Sal/Mookies. The density is absurd. I have been attempting to locate a copy of Jackson's zoning ords but the city zoning department. so far, nada.

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