08 March 2007

NJ Sup. Ct. Supports Condemnation For Slowing Growth

In Mount Laurel Township v. MiPro Homes, L.L.C., 188 N.J. 531, 10 A.2d 617 (2006), the Supreme Court of New Jersey upheld a governing municipal body's desire to slow residential development by ruling that such is a permissible motive for condemning a developer's land. (Mount Laurel made headlines three decades ago for two landmark affordable housing decisions involving land-use planning, Southern Burlington County NAACP v. Township of Mount Laurel, 67 N.J. 151, 336 A.2d 713 (1975), and its companion case at 92 N.J. 158, 456 A.2d 390 (1983).)

In Virginia right now, we can't even condemn on the solid, scientific basis of lack of supporting natural resources, let alone on something as nebulous as a "master plan" or "public will." But wouldn't it be nice?

In light of the buzz re: growth issues which effect Albemarle and many other state jurisdictions [{cough} Loudoun {cough}]), I'm hoping this take-notice will motivate local anti-growth activists to take a look at New Jersey's growing body of case law, find from that the particular NJ Code §§ which allow for such scope of municipal power, extrapolate the changes needed to mirror those rights and powers, and petition the Virginia state legislature to make the suitable changes.

Obviously, this would be a campaign that would take more than ASAP, but could possibly be accomplished were ASAP to team up with other regional and statewide groups with similar ends.

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