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UMH sues village, alleging racial bias

Oct 08, 2018 12:00 pm
Brendan J. Lyons is reporting for the Times Union New Jersey-based property developer UMH Properties Inc., filed a lawsuit in federal court last week, accusing Coxsackie village officials of racial bias as a result of their continued effort to thwart its efforts to build more than 200 manufactured homes on the northern side of the village. The lawsuit follows a more than 13-year battle between UMH and the village. Residents have long opposed the project as well, in some cases citing concerns that the development would destroy the character of the village and overrun the school district with new students. The project was first proposed in 2005, and then followed by multi-year development moratoria and zoning changes enacted by the village. According to the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in Albany, the company alleges that racial bias has also been a component of the opposition to the Mountainview Estates project. According to the complaint, "Many community members expressing opposition...employed stereotypes and language intended to invoke images of African Americans and Latinos and what they perceive to be low-income families with children who would be the residents of the UMH development." The statements include references to fear of increased crime, declining property values, and worries that children who would reside in the development would take over the schools, the developer said. In January, Mayor Mark Evans and three members of the village board voted four to one to change the zoning code related to manufactured homes. Evans declined to comment last week, noting he had not had sufficient time to read the papers that had just been served on the village. Read the full story in the Times Union.
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