Posted by: Patricia Salkin | April 11, 2015

Fed. Dist. Court in NY Dismisses Mobil Home Park Residents’ Fair Housing and Equal Protection Claims over Rezoning

Frontier, a private developer, filed an application with the Town to rezone the Property from a mobile home park to a five hundred (500) residential unit with one (1) and two (2) bedroom apartments and up to forty-five thousand (45,000) square feet of retail space. On December 29, 2011, the Town Board of the Town of Babylon granted Frontier’s application to change the zoning from E Business and B Residence to Multiple Residence use, subject to various conditions and covenants under Resolution 743. By Resolution Number 551, the Town Board of the Town of Babylon adopted the relocation plan (“Plan”) for mobile homes and households on the Property, subject to the approval of the Town Attorney. The Plan provides for a maximum of twenty-thousand dollars ($20,000) per household in relocation assistance, limited to residents in a household who: (1) actually occupy a unit; (2) are in good standing; (3) submit, to the Independent Relocation Consultant, the name and contact information of the resident who will receive the relocation assistance on behalf of the household; and (4) vacate the premises within ninety (90) days of receiving a notice to vacate. The complaint alleges that defendants violated: (1) the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq.; (2) 42 U.S.C. § 1981; (3) 42 U.S.C. § 1982; (4) 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; and (5) 42 U.S.C. § 3608 and its “affirmatively furthering” obligations.

Frontier contended that this case should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because plaintiffs’ claims were based upon the incorrect premise that the relocation plan required Frontier Park residents to sign a release giving up their “rights” to the one-hundred (100) affordable/workforce units. The complaint, however, contained no allegations that any plaintiffs executed the documents associated with the Relocation Plan, nor did it allege that plaintiffs applied for the affordable/workforce housing units which were denied based upon their agreement to the Plan. The court found that plaintiffs could not plausibly allege that execution of the Plan documents foreclosed any “right” to the affordable housing because the Plan contains no such provision; nor could plaintiffs allege that they applied for and were denied affordable/workforce housing as a consequence of agreeing to the Plan’s terms.

The court held that the complaint contained allegations wholly unsupported by the public record and by the documents upon which it is based and which have been included in, or affirmatively omitted from, its exhibits. The court found that the improper conduct was willful as Resolution 494 did not nullify Resolution 743 and none of the documents attached to plaintiffs’ complaint confer any rights to the affordable/workplace housing, or foreclose plaintiffs from applying for such housing, as a consequence of agreeing to the Plan. Accordingly, Frontier’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction was granted, plaintiffs’ complaint was dismissed with prejudice, and Frontier’s motion for Rule 11 sanctions was granted.

Amityville Mobile Home Civic Ass’n v. Town of Babylon, 2015 WL 1412655 (E.D.N.Y. 3/26/ 2015)

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