The Mount Laurel Agreement: A Landmark in Fair Housing in the United States
The Mount Laurel Agreement, also known as the Mount Laurel doctrine, is a landmark legal decision that changed the landscape of fair housing in the United States. This agreement was named after the township of Mount Laurel, located in New Jersey, where it was first implemented. The Mount Laurel Agreement was a response to the housing discrimination and segregation that was prevalent during the 1960s and 1970s in the United States.
What is the Mount Laurel Agreement?
The Mount Laurel Agreement is a legal precedent that mandates municipalities to provide affordable housing units to their residents. Specifically, municipalities are required to provide a “fair share” of affordable housing options to low and moderate-income households. The Mount Laurel Agreement is based on the principle that zoning and land-use regulations cannot be used to exclude certain types of people, such as low-income families, from living in a particular community or neighborhood.
The Mount Laurel Agreement was first established in 1975 by the New Jersey Supreme Court in a case known as Southern Burlington County NAACP v. Township of Mount Laurel. The court ruled that zoning and land-use regulations that prevent the development of affordable housing options in municipalities with higher-income households, violate the New Jersey Constitution`s Fair Housing Act.
What are the key provisions of the Mount Laurel Agreement?
The Mount Laurel Agreement established several key provisions that are still in effect today. One of the most important provisions is the “fair share” obligation, which requires municipalities to provide affordable housing units that are proportional to the total housing stock in the region. This means that municipalities cannot use zoning and land-use regulations to exclude low and moderate-income households from living in a particular area.
Another essential provision is the “builder`s remedy,” which allows developers to sue municipalities if they fail to meet their fair-share obligations. This provision has led to an increase in affordable housing options in New Jersey over the years, as developers are incentivized to build affordable housing units.
The Impact of the Mount Laurel Agreement
The Mount Laurel Agreement has had a significant impact on fair housing in the United States. It has helped to increase affordable housing options for low-income families, promoting social and economic integration. The Mount Laurel Agreement has also been used as a model for other states to follow, with several other states adopting similar policies to increase affordable housing options.
However, the Mount Laurel Agreement has not been without controversy. Some critics argue that it has led to urban sprawl and the destruction of open space. Others argue that it has not done enough to address the underlying causes of housing discrimination and segregation, such as racism and poverty.
The Mount Laurel Agreement is a landmark legal decision that has had a significant impact on fair housing in the United States. Its provisions have helped to increase affordable housing options for low-income families, promoting social and economic integration. While the Mount Laurel Agreement has not been without controversy, it remains a critical tool in the fight against housing discrimination and segregation.