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South Bay Digest

Hawthorne

September 12, 1985

The City Council decided unanimously this week to appeal a federal judge's ruling that, in effect, ordered approval of two apartment projects designed as replacement housing for residents who will lose their homes to the Century Freeway by next spring.

Judge Harry Pregerson last week said council zoning actions, which eliminated a 96-unit project and prevented a 32-unit building from inclusion in a state-funded housing program because of a limit on low-income occupancy, will "prevent low-income minority displacees from continuing to reside in Hawthorne." He ruled that the city violated federal and state fair housing laws and ordered it not to stand in the way of the buildings.

Mayor Guy Hocker Jr. said the council believes its actions were based on planning and zoning concerns, including possible school overcrowding and traffic problems, and were not discriminatory against minorities and the poor.

Attorney Richard R. Terzian, who represents the city, said an appeal will be filed shortly with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Los Angeles.

In separate action, the city will seek a delay of Pregerson's order while the appeal is under consideration. The Center for Law in the Public Interest in Los Angeles, which filed the housing suit against Hawthorne in February, has said it will oppose a delay and the developer of the proposed 96-unit complex, Goldrich, Kest & Associates of Sherman Oaks, has asked the city to begin processing a development map "to prevent further delay" of the project.

Under terms of a 1981 agreement that ended nine years of litigation blocking freeway construction, Hawthorne is to provide 275 housing replacement units. The court said only 128 are under construction in the city.

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