A 10-year legal battle that could have had big implications for mortgage lenders is over. The City Council of New Jersey township Mount Holly has unanimously agreed to settle a case brought against it by residents of a neighborhood, Mount Holly Gardens, slated for redevelopment.
The residents, who are predominantly African-American and Latino, had claimed that the township’s urban renewal plans had a “disparate impact” on minorities and therefore violated the federal Fair Housing Act. The settlement means that the case will no longer go before the U.S. Supreme Court next month as previously planned.
Civil rights groups had hoped the high court would issue a ruling upholding the “disparate impact” discrimination test favored by the Obama administration, while opponents, including mortgage lenders and real estate brokers, had hoped it would be deemed unconstitutional.
As part of the settlement, Mount Holly Township has agreed to build 44 homes in the neighborhood and provide 20 of them to families already living there, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.