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Scott J. Kreppein Scott J. Kreppein

Local governments strive to balance competing interests as they guide the growth of their communities. As data becomes increasingly accessible and useful, particularly with interactive mapping tools, the decision-making process becomes both more informed and more susceptible to critique. While judicial review continues to give deference to discretionary judgment and local policy considerations, the availability of seemingly objective data informs the courts’ analysis as to the appropriate degree of scrutiny and the sufficiency of the explanations proffered by local governments and their agencies.

Supreme Court Guidance

With respect to racial demographics and housing trends, the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., 135 S.Ct. 2507 (2015) provides important guidance for local governments and land use agencies in understanding their obligations to appropriately consider such information under the Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968). The FHA prohibits discrimination in housing sales or rentals, or to “otherwise make unavailable or deny a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin,” or “handicap.” 42 U.S.C. § 3604.

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