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Housing Project Ruling Overturned

March 17, 1999

DALLAS (AP) _ A court order mandating public housing in predominantly white, affluent suburbs has been overturned by a federal appeals court that said ``a race-conscious remedy should be the remedy of last resort.″

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Tuesday told U.S. District Judge Jerry Buchmeyer to come up with a more race-neutral solution to Dallas housing problems.

The court also continued an order blocking further construction of the projects.

The ruling was a victory for two homeowners’ associations that had challenged the construction of two 40-unit projects adjacent to their upscale North Dallas neighborhoods.

``We welcome the recipients into our neighborhood,″ said Jacob Cherner, legal officer for the Preston Highlands Homeowners’ Association. ``Our issue is with the building of permanent structures in our neighborhoods based on racial criteria.″

At least part of the disputed housing development _ a $4.9 million project that houses 75 families _ has been occupied since May. It was not clear how residents there would be affected by the ruling.

Officials with the city and the Dallas Housing Authority did not return phone calls Tuesday.

Update hourly