DOVER, Del. (WBOC/AP)- Sussex County officials have settled a federal lawsuit over alleged discriminatory practices in the denial of an affordable housing project.
The lawsuit alleged that in 2010, county officials denied approval of a 50-lot subdivision based partly on the assumption that residents would be Latino and black, and on stereotypes based on race, color and national origin.
The lawsuit stemmed from a complaint made to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and referred to the Department of Justice.
Under the terms of the settlement, which is subject to court approval, the county admits no wrongdoing but has agreed to reconsider the project using nondiscriminatory criteria, and to take no actions to obstruct or delay the development of the subdivision. Additionally, the county will pay $750,000 in damages to the developer, Diamond State Community Land Trust.
The county also agreed to name a fair housing compliance officer and develop an affordable housing plan to ensure equal housing opportunities continue to be promoted.
"Despite many of the claims in this case, we believe Sussex County has a solid track record of doing its part to help foster an environment for affordable housing and equal opportunity," County Administrator Todd F. Lawson said. "Certainly, there is always room for improvement, and we recognize that. We believe this settlement gives the county an opportunity to expand on its efforts over the years, and to continue doing what it can to ensure quality, affordable housing for all our citizens."