Lessons from Mt. Laurel, October 3, 2021

               Ethel Lawrence Homes, Mt. Laurel, NJ                                                       Griggs Farm, Princeton, NJ

A program on affordable housing, “Lessons from Mount Laurel,” will take place on Sunday, October 3 at 5:00 p.m.  To register for the Zoom link or for more information, email linda.oppenheim@gmail.com.  

Speakers include:

Carl Bisgaier, who was the lead counsel in the first two Mount Laurel cases and is a real estate and affordable housing attorney;

Douglas Massey, Princeton University sociologist and lead author of Climbing Mount Laurel: The Struggle for Affordable Housing and Social Mobility in an American Suburb; and

Dietra Chamberlain, a resident of Ethel R. Lawrence Homes in Mount Laurel since December 2004.

The Ethel Lawrence Homes are named for the Mount Laurel activist who organized a 1969 petition to the Mount Laurel zoning board to permit the development of affordable garden apartments and was a plaintiff in both cases, but died in 1994, six years before the first units were completed.

Peter Buchsbaum, who will moderate the Oct. 3 event, is a retired New Jersey Superior Court judge, of counsel to Lanza and Lanza in Flemington, and court master in six Mount Laurel cases where he “advises the court on the appropriateness of a proposed affordable plan, … advises towns, and helps settle cases.”

Buchsbaum emphasizes why New Jersey citizens might want to attend this educational event.

“It is important for them to know how New Jersey came to be as segregated as it is, and zoning restrictions are an important part of that. Both private discrimination and the strictness of zoning laws in the suburbs have developed a very residentially segregated society, and we have to face up to it. Part of the legal structure of our state has been separating rich and poor and black and white through strict regulation of housing. The Mount Laurel laws are not some alien imposition but are very much part of the struggle to dismantle racial division in our country.”

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