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ACEVEDO v. NASSAU CTY.

January 30, 1974

Abdon ACEVEDO et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
NASSAU COUNTY, NEW YORK, its officials, employees and agents, et al., Defendants


Costantino, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: COSTANTINO

COSTANTINO, District Judge.

This suit is instituted pursuant to the Civil Rights Act (42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 et seq.), the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.), and the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1343(3) and (4) (1971).

 The action is being maintained on behalf of the class of all Blacks or Spanish-speaking persons residing or seeking to reside in the County of Nassau who are eligible for low-income housing as defined in state or federal statutes and regulations. Rule 23, Fed. R. Civ. P.

 At issue is the future of approximately 685 acres of land located in Hempstead Township, Nassau County, New York. The tract of land, commonly known as Mitchel Field, was formerly a United States Air Force base and comprised 1,125.7 acres. In 1961 after the Air Force had terminated operations at the base the land was declared surplus to the needs of the Federal Government. There followed a series of sales by which various governmental agencies acquired parcels at the Field. The plaintiffs question the propriety of the proposed development of the parcels acquired by Nassau County (approximately 630 acres) and the General Services Administration (approximately 55 acres).

 Except for 66.9 acres reserved for park lands, the County purchased its parcels for full value and holds them free of any restrictive covenants. It now proposes the following land uses for its holdings:

 
(1) an educational, cultural and civic center;
 
(2) commercial and light industrial buildings;
 
(3) recreational facilities;
 
(4) a convention center;
 
(5) a natural reserve (Hempstead Plains);
 
(6) a bus depot; and
 
(7) senior citizen housing.

 The General Services Administration has publicized its desire to build a federal office building on its land.

 It must be conceded that save for 250 units of senior citizen housing, the officials of Nassau County are avowedly opposed to the construction of any form of housing at Mitchel Field. The plaintiffs contend that the County's failure to provide for or plan for low-income housing at Mitchel Field is motivated by racial bias, an intent to cause, contribute to or perpetuate patterns of residential racial segregation; and that in any event the County's actions with respect to low-income housing at Mitchel Field will have the effect of perpetuating existing racial segregation in the County. Norwalk CORE v. Norwalk Redevelopment Agency, 395 F.2d 920 (2d Cir. 1968); Mahaley v. Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, 355 F. Supp. 1245 (N.D. Ohio 1973); Banks v. Perk, 341 F. Supp. 1175 (N.D. Ohio 1972); Crow v. Brown, 332 F. Supp. 382 (N.D. Ga. 1971); Kennedy Park Homes Association v. City of Lackawanna, 318 F. Supp. 669 (W.D.N.Y. 1970), aff'd, 436 F.2d 108 (2d Cir. 1972). Furthermore, the plaintiffs assert that the County's proposed construction at Mitchel Field of 250 units of senior citizen housing, which will be almost exclusively occupied by whites, in light of its adamant refusal to include low-income housing there, which would be almost exclusively occupied by Blacks, is racially discriminatory -- a violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Hawkins v. Town of Shaw, 437 F.2d 1286 (5th Cir. 1971). Finally, plaintiffs charge that construction of a federal office building at Mitchel Field will constitute a violation of Executive Order 11512, 35 Fed. Reg. 3979 (March 3, 1970), and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq.).

 Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief to insure that low-income housing on a non-discriminatory basis will be constructed at Mitchel Field. *fn1" Specifically they request an order requiring that:

 
(1) the County comprehensively plan for the development of Mitchel Field to include a significant amount of low ...

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