The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has reversed a United States District Court decision in the long-running Mt Holly Gardens redevelopment cases. As reported in the Burlington County Times, the Third Circuit remanded the case back to the District Court to analyze alternatives to eminent domain takings that allegedly had a discriminatory impact on residents of the Gardens. The main issue raised by the plaintiffs was whether the redevelopment of a low-income neighborhood in Mount Holly discriminated against African American and Hispanic residents who lived in the neighborhood. On remand, the township will bear the burden of proving that there are no less discriminatory alternatives available. Congratulations to our colleague, Olga Pomar, the attorney from South Jersey Legal Services, on winning this remand on appeal for her clients!
Despite this recent victory, perhaps the saddest part of the tale is that a vast portion of the homes in the neighborhood have already been demolished by the township.
For more background on the story, check our prior blogs: