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Garden City, Nassau are offered olive branch by housing advocates

Attorney Frederick Brewington in a 2014 file photo

Attorney Frederick Brewington in a 2014 file photo in Hempstead. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Hempstead lawyer Frederick Brewington and others said at a news conference Thursday that they are offering an olive branch to Garden City and Nassau County to sit and discuss affordable housing issues.

Their comments came in the wake of a federal appeals court’s decision Wednesday affirming a lower court ruling that the village has been discriminatory in its housing codes. The appeals court has sent the case back to the district court to determine whether the county was complicit in racial steering.

County spokesman Brian Nevin reiterated a statement from Wednesday, where County Attorney Carnell Foskey said the courts will eventually find that the county “did not engage in any discriminatory conduct or practice.”

At the news conference, Brewington said: “We’re offering them the opportunity to make affordable housing a reality in Garden City and Nassau County. Let’s iron this thing out.”

Garden City Mayor Nicholas Episcopia said in a statement Friday that the village was disappointed with the ruling, and he added: “Garden City will continue to assure that its laws and practices offer equal opportunities to all.”

Diane Goins, 73, of Hempstead, who is a member of one of the organizations — New York Communities for Change — that brought the federal lawsuit, said she is happy with the decision.

“It means the door is open all around, and for me the fear is gone,” she said.

 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the appeals court’s ruling about Nassau County’s actions.

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