Mount Laurel Decisions

A series of New Jersey Supreme Court cases known as the “Mount Laurel decisions” established that municipalities were constitutionally mandated to provide low- and moderate-income housing. Out of these decisions came the Mount Laurel Doctrine. The Mount Laurel Doctrine is a controversial judicial interpretation of the New Jersey State Constitution. The doctrine requires that municipalities use their zoning powers in an affirmative manner to provide a realistic opportunity for the production of housing affordable to low and moderate income households.

New Jersey Supreme Court in 1975 – Southern Burlington County N.A.A.C.P. v. Mount Laurel Township (commonly called Mount Laurel I). Plaintiffs challenged the zoning ordinance of Mount Laurel Township, New Jersey, on the grounds that it operated to exclude low and moderate income persons from obtaining housing in the municipality.

New Jersey Supreme Court in 1983 – appeals in several of the cases, of which Southern Burlington County N.A.A.C.P. v. Mount Laurel Township was again the flagship case, gave the Court the opportunity to reaffirm and tweak the Mount Laurel Doctrine and provide several methods or solutions to make the doctrine more effective. (Mount Laurel II)

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