NEW YORK (Dec. 20)
The New York City Housing Authority and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will answer a show cause order in Federal court here Jan. 18 to demonstrate why they should not be enjoined from continuing construction of a controversial low income housing project in Forest Hills, Queens. The project is being built by the Housing Authority and is financed by the Federal agency.
Suit against the Authority and HUD was filed by the Queens Jewish Community Council last Friday in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The order was signed by Judge Edward R. Neaher. The basis of the suit is the alleged failure of the City and HUD to comply with terms of the National Environmental Policy Act.
The QJCC is opposed to the project on grounds that it would drastically alter the character of the white, middle class, predominently Jewish neighborhood. The QJCC was one of several Jewish organizations that boycotted a meeting Friday at City Hall which Mayor John V. Lindsay called to bring together opponents and supporters of the project.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the American Jewish Congress, American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Urban League and the Liberal Party, all of which favor the project. Opponents were represented by the Forest Hills Residents Association.
Dr. Alvin Lashinsky, QJCC president, notified Lindsay by letter prior to the meeting that his group would not attend. Dr. Lashinsky said they would “gladly meet privately” with the pro-project groups, but felt that “such a meeting in your (Lindsay’s) presence…will tend to confuse the issue.”
The meeting ended in an impasse. City officials said the size of the projected 840-unit project could not be scaled down to meet community objections because that would increase costs and thus be tantamount to killing it. But the City agreed to a proposal to establish a citizens committee of Forest Hills residents to help screen applicants for the project.