Westchester County Legislator Jim Maisano (R, New Rochelle) announced today that he will be holding a town hall meeting to discuss the proposal before the County Legislature to settle the lawsuit accusing Westchester County of filing false statements with the federal government relating to the Community Development Block Grant program on Thursday, September 17, from 7:30 to 9:30 PM at the New Rochelle City Hall Annex (the old courthouse), 90 Beaufort Place, Room B1, New Rochelle, New York.

The centerpiece of the complex proposed settlement agreement would require the County to develop 750 new affordable housing units in upscale areas of Westchester at a cost of approximately $62 million.  The next step in the process is for the County Legislature to accept or reject the settlement agreement.  If the settlement is rejected, the lawsuit against the County will proceed to trial.  If the County loses at trial, the damages could be as much as $200 million, although it is also expected that the County will then file an appeal.

Legislator Maisano stated, “This is a very complicated issue and the settlement agreement has raised many questions from my constituents.  This issue has been called one of the most important disputes the County has ever faced.  With the stakes so high, I want to hear views on it by the people of New Rochelle and Pelham. This meeting will be an important part of my decision-making process on this vote scheduled for September 21.”

Legislator Maisano has been contacted by constituents who are both in favor and opposed to the settlement agreement.  While some have argued that the risk of not settling the lawsuit could lead to a significantly worse result at trial; others have raised concerns about the overriding of local zoning laws, limits on the number of senior citizens to live in the housing built pursuant to the settlement, and why New Rochelle taxpayers must pay for the settlement when New Rochelle does not receive Community Development Block Grants through the County government.

Legislator Maisano will open the meeting with limited comments on the settlement agreement, and the remainder of the meeting will be reserved for public comments by his constituents (comments will be limited to three minutes per person).