Smith & Fawer, LLC, in collaboration with co-counsel Relman Colfax, has initiated legal proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana against the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, on behalf of developer Stanton Square, LLC. The lawsuit contends that the Defendants impeded, obstructed, and otherwise hindered Stanton Square’s efforts to construct The Village at English Turn and that these actions violate the Fair Housing Act because they have a disparate impact on the basis of race and familial status and contribute to the perpetuation of segregation. This proposed multi-family affordable housing apartment complex aims to cater to the housing needs of working and middle-class individuals and families in the City of New Orleans.
Highlighting a significant lack of quality, affordable housing for New Orleans’ working and middle-class residents, the complaint stresses the potential of The Village to address this shortage, particularly impacting African Americans, Hispanics, and families with children. The designated site, Lower Coast Algiers, is recognized by the City as a “high opportunity” area where zoning laws are crucial to supporting private development for affordable housing.
Despite the property being properly zoned, the City Council abruptly imposed a moratorium on permits for multi-family housing and commercial development on Stanton Square’s property. The legal action challenges the legitimacy of the moratorium and questions its procedural aspects. The complaint further alleges that the City Council’s decision was influenced by a discriminatory campaign led by the English Turn Property Owners’ Association and other groups, using coded discriminatory language and negative stereotypes about minorities and lower-income families with children.