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Southern Burlington County, NAACP v. Township of Mount Laurel

New Jersey Supreme Court
336 A.2d 713 (N.J.), 423 U.S. 808 (1975)



Under Mount Laurel’s (defendant) zoning regulations, 29% of land in the town was zoned exclusively for industry, but only a tiny fraction of that was actually used for industrial purposes and the rest was left undeveloped. In addition, the areas that were actually zoned for residential use were under restrictions that effectively made it so only those with a higher income could live there. These ordinances were put in place because of the tax structure in New Jersey. Because of the town’s need to cover the high costs of schools, it sought primarily buildings with high tax rates—specifically industrial buildings and expensive homes. As a result of this practice, low and moderate income families were effectively prevented from living in the town. The NAACP of Southern Burlington County (NAACP) (plaintiff) brought suit claiming that the combined land use regulations unlawfully exclude low and moderate income families from the town.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Hall, J.)

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