Fair Housing Claim Revived in Property Restoration Suit

June 21, 2016
A federal appeals court has revived a suit over whether it's reasonable for a town to require a couple to restore property that they had been previously permitted to alter to provide access for their disabled child.
     The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Tuesday revived the lawsuit of Colleen and John Austin against the Town of Farmington for alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act and Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
     The Austins moved to Farmington in 2009 with their two sons, the eldest of whom, Cole Austin, has cerebral palsy and other severe disabilities. They planned to buy a house in a development that was subject to a town ordinance barring accessory structures such as pools and fences on so-called "patio lots."
     The couple bought the house after obtaining variances to build a fence to protect their child and an above-ground pool for aquatic therapy, but the resolution passed by the Town Board included a "restoration provision" requiring that structures be removed within 21 days after the child ceased to live on the property or the couple sold it.