NAACP, Texas Housers file complaint against City of Lubbock for discrimination

Updated: Dec. 9, 2019 at 6:59 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - On Monday, the Lubbock NAACP Branch #6198, Texas Housers and Texas Appleseed announced the filing of a Fair Housing Complaint against the City of Lubbock on behalf of residents in North and East Lubbock, claiming discrimination due to industrial zoning practices.

“They wanted to file a complaint because they feel that they haven’t been recognized, have been overlooked by the city and the development of this portion of the area,” Lubbock NAACP President Milton Lee said. “We know there has to be some heavy industrial and commercial but we would like to have it where it’s buffered from the residents that live in this city. And, some of the residents feel it’s not being done.”

The complaint filed with Housing and Urban Development claims the City of Lubbock has violated fair housing and civil rights by passing zoning laws that concentrate industrial zoning in neighborhoods of color, specifically North and East Lubbock. According to the complaint, those neighborhoods were established during times of segregation, along with initial zoning practices.

“Whatever the case may be, this is almost 2020 and we don’t need to continue to be held down and put in our place by a society that’s not ready for change,” Lee said. "Change is here. That’s what the NAACP is about, making everything equal and bringing about justice for all. "

You can read that full complaint below:

While it’s not a new issue, residents are concerned the zoning pattern will continue into the future based on Plan Lubbock 2040. The future land use shows industrial zoning in the same areas of the city. Residents are discouraged with the decision on future land use, especially after raising concerns during the approval process.

“What they are planning on now, instead of talking anymore, is going through legal means to try and see if they can get things worked out with the city,” Lee said. “It’s not to try to bring the city down or anything here. The people here love the city. They feel they have a part in the city. They pay their taxes just like anyone else. They feel they have the right to the equal opportunities that are afforded to the people of this city.”

Upon approval of Plan Lubbock 2040, city leaders said the plan could be changed and updated.

Read more: City approves final reading of ‘Plan Lubbock 2040’

The complaint says the industrial zoning is disproportionate with the rest of Lubbock and poses environmental and health hazards for residents.

In March, residents began a new way of seeking information on air quality with monitoring devices.

Read more: East Lubbock Community Alliance begins testing air quality affected by industrial zoning

“It’s been in existence for a long time and people are beginning to get tired of it and want to see a change,” Dianna Thomas said. “In the past I think a lot of people wouldn’t say anything and would let it go. Now, you have a group of people that said, ‘I want to see a change.’ I believe we need a change.”

KCBD asked the City of Lubbock for a response to the complaint and allegations. KCBD received the following response:

“As of right now, the City has not received the complaint or information regarding it from the NAACP. Should it be received, the City will review it and respond as appropriate.”

According to the FHEO Complaint and Investigation Process, after the complaint is filed, “HUD will provide the party against whom the complaint has been filed notice and an opportunity to respond to the allegations.” You can read more about that process by clicking here.

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