The legal saga over the redevelopment of the Mount Holly Gardens neighborhood continues.
In a 27-page ruling Tuesday, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a District Court ruling that threw out a lawsuit alleging the township violated Gardens residents’ fair housing, civil and constitutional rights with its redevelopment plan for the 25-acre neighborhood off Levis Drive and the Route 541 Bypass.
The 3rd Circuit found that the District Court “misapplied the standard” used to determine if the residents’ fair housing rights were violated. It remanded the case back to District Court and asked the township for more information regarding possible alternatives to redevelopment, including the rehabilitation of the remaining homes.
In the decision, the court acknowledged that township officials have contended that rehabilitation is too costly and that demolition and replacement are “the most effective and efficient approach to solving the neighborhood’s problems.”
The court ruled that the burden is on the township to prove there are “no less-discriminatory alternatives” to its redevelopment plans.
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