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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO


GEORGINA AYALA; MAGDALENA RODRIGUEZ;
DAVID UNZUETA; MA. DOLORES UNZUETA;
ALEJANDRA R. DURAN; JOSE INEZ DURAN;
LORENZO CERROS; MARIA CERROS; ALFREDO
GONZALES; FABIOLA GONZALES; ELIZABETH
LOPEZ; MARGARITO MONTOYA; JOSE ROSALES;
REYNA ROSALES; JUAN RUIZ; PATRICIA
RUIZ; EUFEMIO CANO; ALFREDO NAVARRO;
YOLANDA NAVARRO;'GERARDO ACOSTA
CARDENAS; and MARIA ACOSTA;
     Plaintiffs,

vs.

No. CIV 94-0493 HB/JHG

VILLAGE OF HATCH, MAYOR TOMMY HALSELL,
TRUSTEE JOHNNYE HAMMETT; TRUSTEE GARRY
JOHNSON, TRUSTEE CLARK NEAL; TRUSTEE
GILBERT BARTLETT and GEORGE HARTFORD,
in their official capacities,
     Defendants.

CONSOLIDATED WITH

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff,

vs.

No. CIV 95-0636 HB/JHG

VILLAGE OF HATCH, NEW MEXICO,
     Defendant.

_______________________________________

CONSENT DECREE

On May 9, 1994, the private Plaintiffs commenced this action alleging that the Village of Hatch has engaged in a course of municipal action intended to prevent permanent resident aliens of Mexican national origin from living in the Village in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§3601, et seg. On June 15, 1995, the United States filed its complaint alleging that the Village engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of national origin by making housing unavailable to persons seeking to reside in the Village of Hatch. The Defendants admit to no liability for any wrongdoing and expressly deny the allegations of Plaintiffs' complaints.

WHEREAS the parties' representatives have engaged in extensive arms-length negotiations in the interest of settling the claims raised in the above-captioned action;

WHEREAS the terms of this Consent Decree have been approved by the private Plaintiffs, the United States Department of Justice (collectively referred to hereafter as "Plaintiffs") and by the Defendants through the votes of the Village of Hatch Board of Trustees on October 31, 1996;

WHEREAS the Defendants find that settling this lawsuit and approving this proposed Consent Decree on the terms stated herein expressly further the municipal purpose of fostering integrated and affordable housing for all residents of the Village of Hatch;

WHEREAS all parties seek to promote a new spirit of harmony, cooperation and unity in the Village of Hatch and to collectively and cooperatively address the zoning, housing, and community development needs of the Village of Hatch;

NOW, THEREFORE, subject to final approval of the Court, the parties agree as follows:

  1. INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

    1. Defendants, their agents, employees, successors, and all persons in active concert or participation with any of them in the enactment and enforcement of the Village's zoning and land use ordinances are permanently enjoined from enforcing ordinance Number 256 as adopted on August 12, 1993 and published on August 19, 1993, entitled Village of Hatch Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. The amended ordinance enacted in accordance with this Consent Decree may be enforced in accordance with the law.

    2. Defendants, their agents, employees, successors, and all persons in active concert or participation with any of them in the enactment and enforcement of the Village's zoning and land use ordinances are permanently enjoined from engaging in any activity or practice, or from maintaining any policy or procedure, that:

      1. Makes unavailable or denies a dwelling unit to any person because of national origin;

      2. Discriminates against any person in the terms, conditions or privileges of the rental of a dwelling unit because of national origin;

      3. Makes, prints, or publishes statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling unit that indicates a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on national origin;

      4. Coerces, intimidates, threatens, or interferes with any person on account of his or her having exercised any right granted or protected under the Fair Housing Act; or

      5. Otherwise violates the Fair Housing Act. 42 U.S.C. § 3601, et seg.

  2. CIVIL PENALTY

    The Village of Hatch shall pay as a civil penalty the sum of $2,000 to the United States, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C). Such payment shall be made within thirty (30) days after the date of entry of this Decree.

  3. ZONING

    Within 60 days from final approval of the Decree by the Court, the Village shall rezone the Village of Hatch and amend the Village of Hatch Zoning Code and Zoning Map in a manner consistent with the terms of this Consent Decree. This rezoning is intended to provide zoning consistent with the Hatch Comprehensive Plan and to induce the use of mobile home parks, in the Village of Hatch through zoning incentives used in conjunction with the program described below.

    1. The zoning designation of Elm Street in the Village of Hatch will be changed from R-1 to R-1-M; the Plaintiffs and the Santos family may return to the mobile homes at issue such that the current trailer parks located on Elm Street, will be permitted to resume operation at the level to which they were operating on November 1, 1993. The trailer parks on Elm Street will be considered legal nonconforming uses and the provisions of the zoning ordinance governing legal non-conforming uses shall apply to the trailer parks located an Elm Street in the same manner as they apply to other trailer parks within the Village of Hatch.

    2. The zoning designation of additional areas will be changed from R-1 to R-1-M, as agreed to by the parties and described in Exhibit A.

    3. At least three additional areas will be considered for rezoning to R-2-M upon application of interested parties.

    4. The minimum lot size for R-1-M mobile home sites will be changed to the dimensions identified in § 2.B of Ordinance 256 omitting the 5,000 sq. ft. minimum lot size requirement. The minimum lot size for R-2-M mobile home park sites will be changed to 2 acres.

    5. The Village shall in good faith consider proposals, Village Codes and ordinances that are conducive to promoting decent, affordable housing, e.g., special revitalization districts, neighborhood revitalization projects, ordinance concessions for nonconforming neighborhoods to make it feasible to improve properties consistent with available funding.

    6. Within 60 days of final approval of this Decree by the Court, the Village shall amend the Hatch Comprehensive Plan in order to reflect the goals of housing and neighborhood improvement for the Village set forth in the Consent Decree.

    7. The Village shall develop and implement displacement and relocation plans as that term is used in 42 U.S.C. § 5304(d) for any displacements or relocations occurring in connection with CDBG funded programs, including the development of zoning laws, consistent with the certification required under 42 U.S.C. § 5304 (d).

  4. DEVELOPMENT OF HOUSING PLAN

    Within 30 days of signing the Decree the Village will commence to:

    1. Update the Hatch housing assessment and a proposed housing plan, which includes:

      1. A land and housing inventory within the Village of all vacant lots, larger sites, and homes that are vacant, habitable, or not-habitable which will determine:

        1. The habitable vacant homes which satisfy HUD Housing Quality Standards;

        2. Available housing stock and vacant sites that are salable, and the vacant sites that are eligible for mobile homes that meet current code;

        3. Homes and sites that are feasible for purchase within the appraisal limits;

      2. A feasibility study of methods to provide affordable, safe, decent, and sanitary housing through mobile homes and mobile home parks, e.g. redevelop current substandard mobile home parks in a rental park with a strong property management plan and a cooperative resident association or convert current mobile home parks into mobile home subdivisions;

      3. The available sources of funding for the development of low income housing; and

      4. A proposal for inducements to be offered to private businesses or individuals to develop or rehabilitate housing which would be available to low income persons.

    2. In developing the above-described housing plan, the Village shall:

      1. Invite the participation of the following:

        1. Village Engineer

        2. Doña Ana County building inspector

        3. Doña Ana County Public Housing Authority

        4. Tierra del Sol Housing Corporation property management/maintenance

        5. South Central Council of Governments or Rio Grande Council of Governments planner

        6. Colonias Development Council

        7. The local federal and state legislative delegates.

      2. Hold community meetings in the course of the development of the plan which meetings shall be held in a meaningful manner with respect to notice to interested persons, notice of matters to be discussed, the presentation of information, and the use of interpretive services.

    3. The Village will complete such housing plan within six (6) months of the entry of this Decree unless it is impracticable to complete within such time, whereupon the Village will notify the Plaintiffs in writing of the reason for delay.

  5. INFRASTRUCTURE

    1. The Village will continue to pursue and seek to expedite any infrastructure improvement projects such as any water, sewer, and/or possible drainage improvements currently funded.

    2. The Village will continue to pursue funding for providing infrastructure improvements. Such funding may serve either as an incentive or as a prerequisite to the development of low income housing.

  6. FUNDING RESOURCES

    1. The Village will seek Congressional assistance to intervene and will intervene to request FEMA to give emergency technical assistance with regard to flood plain development and will seek resources to cover the expense of any required flood insurance.

    2. The Village will submit an application for an allocation from HUD discretionary funds for an allotment of 25 project-based section 8 certificates designated to the Village of Hatch or surrounding areas.

    3. The Village will apply and/or assist Doña Ana County in applying for funds for improvement of rental housing and provision of rental assistance to low income tenants as follows:

      1. Apply for HUD Rental Rehabilitation;

      2. Publicize the existence and process for governmental assistance in the rental or purchase of low income housing;

      3. Make affirmative efforts to promote the use of such rental assistance in conjunction with Rental Rehabilitation of units to ensure the continued affordability of rehabilitated units to low income renters; and

      4. Take such other measures as are appropriate to prevent displacement of low income renters from rehabilitated units.

    4. The Village will in good faith consider and cooperate in applications by private entities or individuals for federal funding which would result in the development of low income housing to the extent consistent with the anti-donation clause of the New Mexico Constitution.

    5. The Village will support the application for Housing Opportunity Grants Program, under which HUD provides grants to neighborhood non-profit organizations to enable the organizations to provide loans to families purchasing homes that are constructed or substantial rehabilitated by requesting any necessary waivers and by providing written statements that the Village approves of the proposed program.

    6. The Village will in good faith apply for and aggressively pursue available funding including CDBG grants for the development of low income housing, making housing a top priority in the use of CDBG funding considering the need for infrastructure improvements.

  7. CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM

    The Village will create a new construction program to support the development of new single family residences on vacant lots within the Village for low income families that will include:

    1. Encouraging the private sector to construct affordable single family homes on the vacant lots;

    2. Amending its zoning. code to provide appropriate code provisions supporting the Village development program;

    3. Providing incentives to the program through one or more of the following:

      1. Providing grants to purchase additional lots in the Village to the extent the Village receives funding for such purpose;

      2. Providing information for obtaining government funds for impact or hook-up fees and/or delayed payment of such fees;

      3. Allowing modifications of building standards that ensure soundness of construction while reducing unnecessary building costs consistent with the safety of the public and compliance with state codes;

      4. Streamlining the permitting and inspection process;

      5. Providing infrastructure improvements to support residential development and rehabilitation in the same manner as those provided to non low-income developments to the extent the Village receives funding for such purpose.

  8. FAIR HOUSING POLICY

    The Village will develop and adopt an affirmative fair housing a policy which will be reviewed annually. The policy and all updates shall be published.

  9. FIVE YEAR HOUSING PLAN

    The Village will develop a Five Year Housing Plan which will include:

    1. A needs assessment;

    2. A plan for broad-based citizen participation;

    3. Specific production and development targets incorporating the above programs and provisions;

    4. Annual review of the zoning code, comprehensive plan, fair housing policy; and

    5. Annual application for private and local, state and federal government financing.

  10. TRAINING

    1. Within thirty (30) days after the date of entry of this Decree, the Village shall conduct and complete the following program for all officials, agents, or employees with responsibilities relating to the implementation and enforcement of all zoning, occupancy or land use regulations. At a minimum, this shall include all persons, involved with zoning code enforcement, municipal officers, Board of Trustees members, and the mayor. Such program shall include:

      1. Furnishing to each employee or agent a copy of the Consent Decree, and informing each such person, in person, of the duties of Defendant and its employees and agents pursuant to the Decree; and

      2. Securing the signed statement appearing at Exhibit B from each such employee and agent indicating that he or she has received, read, and understands this Consent Decree and the policy of nondiscrimination mandated by it and further understands that violation of this Decree may result in sanctions against the Village by the Court.

    2. For the duration of this Decree, each new official, employee or agent of the Village with responsibilities relating to the implementation and enforcement of all zoning, occupancy, or land use regulations shall be given a copy of and required to read this Consent Decree, and sign the statement appearing at Exhibit B, within ten (10) days after the date he or she commences an employment or agency relationship with the Village. For the duration of the Decree, the Village shall inform fully each such new official, employee or agent of the Village's obligations under the Consent Decree. That person shall sign a certification that he or she understands these obligations.

    3. The statements prescribed by this section of the Decree shall be maintained in the office of the Village Clerk for the duration of this Decree.

  11. FUTURE ASSURANCES

    1. Within thirty (30) days cf the signing of this Decree, the private Plaintiffs will provide the Defendants with notice of a designated person or entity which will be entitled to receive notice as provided in this Decree on behalf of the private Plaintiffs. No monitoring fees will be sought by the Plaintiffs.

    2. Within (30) days of the signing of this Decree the parties shall designate a mutually acceptable person(s), governmental or public body to act as a compliance officer or agency. The compliance officer or entity so designated shall be served with the reports specified by this Decree. The compliance officer or entity shall further be authorized and permitted to conduct an investigation as deemed appropriate to determine compliance with this Decree. Such investigation may include a review of Village records or interviews of Village officials and the Village shall make such records and persons available to the compliance officer. The compliance officer shall report every six months to the United States, the Plaintiff's designee, and the Defendants regarding compliance with this Decree. The compliance monitor can request the court to award fees for the work done in monitoring compliance with this Decree. In the event the compliance monitor resigns from the duties described herein, the parties shall agree upon a replacement person or entity within sixty days of the resignation.

    3. In the event of a rezoning initiated by the request of a property owner, the Village agrees to give due weight to preserving the goals of housing and neighborhood improvement for the Village set forth in this Consent Decree.

    4. For the duration of this Decree, before enacting or implementing any future ordinance that places any limits or restrictions on mobile homes, the Village shall notify counsel for the United States of such limits or restrictions. Such notification shall include the text of the proposed amendment, showing language to be added or deleted; any documents that have been submitted to the Board of Trustees in support or opposition to the proposal; the date on which each projected hearing before the Board of Trustees with respect to the proposal is to take place; and the name, address, and telephone number of the person(s) who have made the proposal.

    5. The new ordinance or amendment may be effective no less than thirty (30) days after the United States is notified of the proposal, unless the United Stats informs the Village that it has no objections to the proposal before that time. In the event that the United States objects to the proposed change in writing within 30 days of receipt of notice, the change shall not be implemented until the parties have resolved their dispute or, in the event that they are unable to resolve it, the Court shall resolve it.

    6. If an issue of compliance arises between the Village and the Plaintiffs, the parties agree to resolve any dispute in good faith. If no resolution of any dispute is reached by the parties, then either party may apply to the court for clarification or resolution of any dispute.

  12. REPORTING TO THE UNITED STATES, PLAINTIFFS' DESIGNEE AND COMPLIANCE OFFICER

    1. The Village shall, no later than sixty (60) days after the entry of this Decree, serve upon counsel for the United States a report evidencing its compliance with this Decree. This report shall consist of:

      1. Statements and certifications signed by all officials, employees or agents pursuant to § X of this Decree.

    2. Six (6) months after entry of this Decree, and every six (6) months thereafter for three (3) years from the date of this Decree, the Village shall serve on counsel for the United States, the designee identified by private Plaintiffs, and the compliance officer a written report evidencing its continuing compliance with this Decree during the preceding six (6) months. This report shall contain the following information:

      1. Any statements/certifications signed by Village officials, employees or agents as required by § X;

      2. Any written complaint made to the Village, its non-clerical employees, officials and agents alleging housing discrimination by the Village. The Village shall include full details of the complaint, including the complainant's name, address and telephone number, and any action taken or proposed by the village in response to the complaint;

      3. Copies of all written zoning requests involving the movement of single-wide mobile homes within the Village. The Village shall include full details of the request, including name, address and telephone number of the person making such request, and any decision by the Village in response to such request;

      4. Copies of all applications for areas to be rezoned R-2-M. The Village shall include full details of the request, including the name, address and telephone number of the person making such request, and any decision by the Village in response to such request;

      5. Notice of the resignation and/or hiring of all Village employees and zoning officers;

      6. Copy of the housing plan described in § IV;

      7. Records of community meetings held in the course of development of housing plan described in § IV;

      8. Documentation of efforts to seek funds for infrastructure improvements and utilization of funds as described in § V;

      9. Documentation of efforts to obtain funding for development of housing as described in § VI;

      10. Documentation of all efforts toward the creation and implementation of a construction program pursuant to § VII;

      11. A copy of the fair housing policy as required by § IX; and

      12. A copy of the 5 year plan as required by § IX.

      If such material is voluminous, the Village may advise Plaintiffs that such material is available for inspection and copying at Plaintiffs' expense.

    3. Upon reasonable notice to counsel for the Village, representatives of the United States, private Plaintiffs' designee and compliance officer shall be permitted to inspect and copy all pertinent records of Defendant at any and all reasonable times at Plaintiffs' expense; however, the United States and Plaintiffs shall endeavor to minimize any inconvenience to Defendants from inspection of such records.

  13. MONETARY RELIEF

    Within thirty (30) days of the date of entry of this Consent Decree, the Village shall pay a total of two hundred and sixty thousand, five hundred dollars ($260,500.00) to Plaintiffs and aggrieved persons to resolve the compensatory damage claims and attorneys fees of persons aggrieved by the Village's alleged discriminatory conduct. In consideration of the Village's payment, each aggrieved person who receives compensation shall execute the Settlement Agreement set forth as Exhibit C.

  14. CLAIMS OF THE UNITED STATES

    The entry of this Consent Decree resolves all claims by the United States, including monetary relief for aggrieved persons, based on the allegations in its complaint.

  15. MISCELLANEOUS

    1. This Consent Decree shall continue in effect for a period of three years. Any of the parties may apply to the Court for an extension of this Consent Decree for a longer period upon a showing of non-compliance or good cause.

    2. This Consent Decree shall constitute a final judgment by the Court. This Court shall retain jurisdiction consistent with the provisions of this Consent Decree.

U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
HOWARD BRATTON

APPROVAL:

Defendants
GREGORY L. BIEHLER
Beall & Biehler
Attorney for Defendants: Village
of Hatch, Mayor Tommy Halsell,
Trustee Johnnye Hammett, Gary
Johnson, Clark Neal, Gilbert
Bartlett and George Hartford
6715 Academy Road NE
Albuquerque NM 87109

Plaintiffs
ELIZABETH E. SIMPSON
Tomita & Simpson, P.C.
Counsel for Plaintiffs
4253 Montgomery Blvd NE #205
Albuquerque NM 87109

DONNA J. SNYDER
Counsel for Plaintiffs
8815 Dyer St #240
El Paso TX 79904

PAUL F. HANCOCK
BRIAN F. HEFFERNAN
JON M. SEWARD, ESQ.
Attorneys
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
United States Department of Justice
PO Box 65998
Washington DC 20035-5998
(202) 307-3804

General Information Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
 
Leadership
Steven H. Rosenbaum
Chief
Contact
Housing & Civil
Enforcement Section
(202) 514-4713
TTY - 202-305-1882
FAX - (202) 514-1116
To Report an Incident of Housing Discrimination:
1-800-896-7743
Mailing Contact
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, NWB
Washington, D.C. 20530

Email: fairhousing@usdoj.gov

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