GALVESTON — A federal judge on Friday tossed two of the three remaining claims from a lawsuit seeking to halt the rebuilding of public housing on the island.

Judge Gregg Costa of the U.S. District Court in Galveston on Friday ruled that the public housing plan did not violate the federal Fair Housing Act. He also ruled that plaintiff Tryshatel McCardell couldn’t seek to stop the plan because of a violation of the federal Administrative Procedure Act.

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2013 by the Galveston Open Government Project and several individuals. It claims that the Galveston Housing Authority’s plan to rebuild public housing would further segregation on the island. But Costa in April ruled that the advocacy group and all but one plaintiff didn’t have standing to sue to stop the plan.

For the lawsuit to succeed now, the plaintiff will have to prove the housing plan violates the U.S. Constitution, specifically the fifth and 14th amendments.

In his notice to both parties, Costa said that the Galveston Housing Authority’s plan to build 140 public housing units alongside a number of market-rate units on the site of the previous Cedar Terrace and Magnolia Homes housing projects didn’t violate the Fair Housing Act. Costa ruled the plan satisfied the law’s “safe harbor” provision.

Under the Fair Housing Act, any plan that would build 50 percent or less of the original number of public housing units on the site of a demolished public housing project does not violate the law. The two original housing projects had more than 280 public housing units.

In another order, Costa ruled that the plaintiff cannot seek relief from the Administrative Procedure Act. The act, passed in 1946, allows courts to review actions taken by federal agencies.

In his order, Costa said that since the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had not made a final action on the Galveston housing plan, McCardell couldn’t use the act to halt the plan. Rather, the agency had only discussed the plan with local officials in conversations and letters, which did not constitute “final action,” Costa said.

Both sides are scheduled to meet in court Tuesday. Costa’s notice to the parties stated that the major focal point of the hearing will be on whether the plan violated the U.S. Constitution.

The plaintiff argues in the lawsuit that the housing plan would further segregate the island, violating minority residents’ rights to equal protection under the law.

(9) comments

Raymond Lewis

Been waiting to see comments, any comments, from the GOGP supporters and public housing adversaries.

Evelyn Clark

I The GOGP was sent to Galveston to kill and destroy any sign of land that was

to be use for low income housing. They even had a lady that NEVER LIVED in

PH . Please someone tell me how much did the GOGP and others PAY her to

stand and lie about her fear of SEGATIONGRE. [sad] [sad]

Steve Fouga

Here's my comment: Public housing is about to be rebuilt with bad consequences to the Island. I wish it weren't being rebuilt. It's a bad idea. Period.

T Morris

Why bring public housing a city that has no good jobs? The city must be getting one heck of a kick back from the feds.

Steve Fouga

I'm going to trust that Galveston officials want to rebuild public housing because they feel the Feds will require it for the City to get the remainder of its Ike recovery money.

There's simply no other reason to do it.

Evelyn Clark

You forgot that PH was there before the STORM, I may not be able to type as good as you and the others. but i know How to tell the truth and not lie . Before the storm none of you cared about how the PH was doing. OUT OF SITE OUT OF MIND.

Now you all wants to say what is to be built on land that was there for PH before Ike. Stop acting as if there are no bad white people.. It is some good in all of us BLACK/ BROWN/ White.

George Croix

A great victory for doing the same thing over again, expecting a different outcome.

Royce P.

I rather doubt that rebuilding violates the U.S. Constitution, but I do find it odd that the memory of what the Public Housing situation in Galveston was like before Ike has been totally forgotten, or is it being purposely overlooked? It has only been 6 years since Ike hit, and in that short period of time, has everyone forgotten what is was like in the areas around the PH? It was not a positive thing. Does no one remember the people hanging out on the streets corners and stop signs, both men and women, drinking their 40’s and trying to sell … whatever …. The garbage that always littered the streets and floated around the rundown units, which always appeared unkept and in need of some kind of repair? It was certainly not the best of situations, but the GHA allowed it all those years. They never stepped in to clean up the appearance or the residents’ behaviors. So now the GHA and HUD are going to add all these new units for GHA to manage. I can just imagine what it will be like in another 6 years, will the cycle continue? History does have a way of repeating itself.

Raymond Lewis

Hopefully, RoyceParker, you will be among the first on GHA's door steps should the new structures start to deteriorate. I know I will be.

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