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League Of Women Voters To Host Affordable Housing Forum in Bedford

BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y. – The League of Women Voters will raise the subject of Affordable Housing in Bedford this week, as it is holding a community forum for local residents to learn about the town’s new ordinance and how the overall matter affects Westchester residents. 

The forum will feature two federal representatives: James E. Johnson, the federal housing monitor, and Janet Hostetler of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Participants from the county will be Mary Mahon, special assistant to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Norma Drummond, deputy commissioner of Westchester Planning Department, Thomas McGrath, chairperson of the Blue Mountain Housing Development Corporation, and William G. Balter of Wilder Balter Partners Inc. The forum will be moderated by the District 2 County Legislator Peter Harckham (D-Katonah). 

The event – scheduled for Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the justice court at the Bedford Hills Town House – comes on the heels of the town passing its Affordable Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Unit ordinance last Tuesday. The ordinance complies with the housing settlement agreed upon by Westchester County and the federal government in 2009. 

In 2009, the county reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that required 750 units of affordable housing be built in 31 predominately white communities in Westchester by 2016.  Part of the agreement also stated that the county would assist its municipalities with their town or village laws. 

The League of Women Voters said it’s necessary to bring an informative talk to the people of Northern Westchester because of the strong feelings on both sides of the issue. Last week, some vocal residents, such as Don Scott of Katonah, said they feel the town’s compliance involves too much involvement from the federal government.

“I hope it won’t be too heated, but I think a little heat will make it interesting. I think there are some people very much against” the ordinance, said Rosemary Mac Laughlin of Katonah and president of the local Leagues.  “They will probably speak out, but the league feels we must go forward with the forum.  There’s no way to ignore it. We’re talking about the federal government, with a lot of power.”

The event is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Westchester and the branch including Bedford, Lewisboro and North Salem.

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