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Mount Laurel is a township in Burlington County, New Jersey, United States, and is an edge city suburb of Philadelphia. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 41,864, reflecting an increase of 1,643 (+4.1%) from the 40,221 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 9,951 (+32.9%) from the 30,270 counted in the 1990 Census. It is the home of NFL Films.
Mount Laurel was incorporated as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 7, 1872, from portions of Evesham Township. The township was named for a hill covered with laurel trees.
There are several historical landmarks, including General Clinton's headquarters, Paulsdale, Evesham Friends Meeting House, Jacob's Chapel, Hattie Britt School and Farmer's Hall.
The Mount Laurel Decision is a judicial interpretation of the New Jersey State Constitution that requires municipalities to use their zoning powers in an affirmative manner to provide a realistic opportunity for the production of housing affordable to low and moderate income households. The decision was a result of a lawsuit brought against the town by the N.A.A.C.P. that was decided by the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1975 and reaffirmed in a subsequent decision in 1983.
The history behind this, and the story leading to the Decision was highlighted in a book by David L. Kirp called Our Town.
Mount Laurel was a small, poor rural farming community until it was hit with massive suburban growth from Philadelphia in the later 1900s. Poor families, whose history had resided there for centuries, were suddenly priced out of buying additional property. In 1970, at a meeting about a proposal for affordable housing, held at an all black church in Mount Laurel, Mayor Bill Haines summed up the newcomers' perspective by saying: "If you people can't afford to live in our town, then you'll just have to leave."
Even though the poor black families in Mount Laurel were not from urban ghettos, and were not involved in gang activity, the new suburban influx thought otherwise, and significantly delayed the creation of affordable housing areas, citing concerns of gang activity and an influx of inner city criminals. Exampled comments from town meetings against forced construction of housing projects included "we need this like Custer needed more Indians"; "it's reverse discrimination"; "we lived in this in South Philly and Newark", and that the housing would be a "breeding ground for violent crime and drug abuse".
Resident advocates of the housing initiative were treated with abuse and threats. Leading advocate Ethel Lawrence, a poor black resident who lived her life in Mount Laurel, had her house repeatedly vandalized, and once her bedroom window was damaged by gunfire. Longtime white residents also tried to force the poor black residents out of town. Although the court ruled in favor of creating affordable housing, residents did manage to delay the process for decades.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 21.971 square miles (56.903 km2), including 21.692 square miles (56.181 km2) of land and 0.279 square miles (0.722 km2) of water (1.27%).
Ramblewood (with a 2010 Census population of 5,907) is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) located within Mount Laurel.
Other unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Birchfield, Bougher, Centerton, Colemantown, Coxs Corner, Fellowship, Hartford, Heulings Hill, Masonville, Petersburg, Pine Grove, Rancocas Woods and Texas.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 41,864 people, 17,538 households, and 11,294 families residing in the township. The population density was 1,930.0 per square mile (745.2/km2). There were 18,249 housing units at an average density of 841.3 per square mile (324.8/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 79.42% (33,249) White, 9.70% (4,061) Black or African American, 0.16% (67) Native American, 7.26% (3,040) Asian, 0.04% (17) Pacific Islander, 1.00% (418) from other races, and 2.42% (1,012) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.56% (1,907) of the population.
There were 17,538 households out of which 28.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.0% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.6% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the township, the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 29.2% from 45 to 64, and 16.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.8 years. For every 100 females there were 87.4 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 83.5 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $84,632 (with a margin of error of +/- $5,366) and the median family income was $100,189 (+/- $4,065). Males had a median income of $75,870 (+/- $3,130) versus $54,215 (+/- $2,830) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $41,573 (+/- $1,416). About 3.0% of families and 3.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.6% of those under age 18 and 3.8% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 40,221 people, 16,570 households, and 11,068 families residing in the township. The population density was 1,844.3 people per square mile (712.0/km²). There were 17,163 housing units at an average density of 787.0 per square mile (303.8/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 87.10% White, 6.92% African American, 0.09% Native American, 3.80% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.64% from other races, and 1.41% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.24% of the population.
There were 16,570 households out of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.7% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 27.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the township the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 5.4% from 18 to 24, 32.7% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.8 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $63,750, and the median income for a family was $76,288. Males had a median income of $55,597 versus $37,198 for females. The per capita income for the township was $32,245. About 2.5% of families and 3.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.9% of those under age 18 and 2.9% of those age 65 or over.
Laurel Acres Park is known for its Veterans Memorial, fishing lake, playground, and huge grassy hill used for concerts and sledding in the winter. Laurel Acres Park is right between Church Street at Union Mill Road. The Mount Laurel Baseball League and the Mount Laurel United Soccer Club play in the park's sports fields, and since 2008, the Mount Laurel Premiership. Mount Laurel also includes 2 dog parks.
Mount Laurel voted to change its form of government in 1970 from a Township Committee form to a Faulkner Act system using the Council-Manager (Plan E), enacted based on the recommendations of a Charter Study Commission as of January 1, 1972. In this form of government, the Township Manager oversees the daily functions of the Township. Township government consists of a Township Council made up of five members elected at-large in partisan elections to serve four-year terms on a staggered basis, with either two or three seats coming up for election in even-numbered years as part of the November general election. At an annual reorganization meeting held in January, the council selects one of its members to serve as mayor and another to serve as deputy mayor, each for a one-year term.
As of 2018, members of the Mount Laurel Township Council are Mayor Richard Van Noord (R, term as Mayor and on council ends December 31, 2018), Deputy Mayor Dennis Riley (R, term as Deputy Mayor and on council ends 2018), Linda Bobo (R, 2020), Irwin Edelson (R, 2020) and Kurt D. Folcher (R, 2020).
Mount Laurel Township is located in the 3rd Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 7th state legislative district. Prior to the 2011 reapportionment following the 2010 Census, Mount Laurel Township had been in the 8th state legislative district.
New Jersey's 3rd Congressional District is represented by Tom MacArthur (R, Toms River). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (Paramus, 2019).
For the 2018–2019 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 7th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Troy Singleton (D, Palmyra) and in the General Assembly by Herb Conaway (D, Moorestown) and Carol A. Murphy (D, Mount Laurel). The Governor of New Jersey is Phil Murphy (D, Middletown Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Sheila Oliver (D, East Orange).
Burlington County is governed by a Board of chosen freeholders, whose five members are elected at-large in partisan elections to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats coming up for election each year; at an annual reorganization meeting, the board selects a director and deputy director from among its members. As of 2018, Burlington County's Freeholders are Director Kate Gibbs (R, Lumberton Township, term as freeholder and as director ends December 31, 2018), Deputy Director Linda Hughes (R, Evesham Township, term as freeholder and as deputy director ends 2018) Tom Pullion (D, Edgewater Park, 2020), Balvir Singh (D, Burlington Township, 2020), and Latham Tiver (R, Southampton Township, 2019). Burlington County's Constitutional Officers are County Clerk Tim Tyler (R, Fieldsboro, 2018), Sheriff Jean E. Stanfield (R, Westampton, 2019) and Surrogate Mary Ann O'Brien (R, Medford, 2021)
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 28,317 registered voters in Mount Laurel Township, of which 9,089 (32.1% vs. 33.3% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 6,880 (24.3% vs. 23.9%) were registered as Republicans and 12,328 (43.5% vs. 42.8%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 20 voters registered to other parties. Among the township's 2010 Census population, 67.6% (vs. 61.7% in Burlington County) were registered to vote, including 87.0% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 80.3% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 12,634 votes (55.5% vs. 58.1% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 9,797 votes (43.0% vs. 40.2%) and other candidates with 194 votes (0.9% vs. 1.0%), among the 22,762 ballots cast by the township's 29,792 registered voters, for a turnout of 76.4% (vs. 74.5% in Burlington County). In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 13,420 votes (57.2% vs. 58.4% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 9,657 votes (41.2% vs. 39.9%) and other candidates with 220 votes (0.9% vs. 1.0%), among the 23,443 ballots cast by the township's 28,847 registered voters, for a turnout of 81.3% (vs. 80.0% in Burlington County). In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 11,618 votes (52.3% vs. 52.9% countywide), ahead of Republican George W. Bush with 10,382 votes (46.7% vs. 46.0%) and other candidates with 146 votes (0.7% vs. 0.8%), among the 22,231 ballots cast by the township's 27,385 registered voters, for a turnout of 81.2% (vs. 78.8% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 8,696 votes (65.1% vs. 61.4% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 4,341 votes (32.5% vs. 35.8%) and other candidates with 148 votes (1.1% vs. 1.2%), among the 13,354 ballots cast by the township's 29,635 registered voters, yielding a 45.1% turnout (vs. 44.5% in the county). In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 7,082 votes (50.4% vs. 47.7% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 6,149 votes (43.8% vs. 44.5%), Independent Chris Daggett with 617 votes (4.4% vs. 4.8%) and other candidates with 108 votes (0.8% vs. 1.2%), among the 14,047 ballots cast by the township's 29,086 registered voters, yielding a 48.3% turnout (vs. 44.9% in the county).
The Mount Laurel Schools serve public school students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. As of the 2014-15 school year, the district and its eight schools had an enrollment of 6,104 students and 335.2 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 18.2:1. The grade configuration includes six schools serving kindergarten through fourth-grade students. Students are assigned on a geographic basis to one of the six K-4 schools; Countryside serves the township's northwest; Fleetwood, the northeast; Hillside covers the north central portion of the township; Larchmont, a piece of the eastern side; Parkway, covers the western portion; and Springville the southern tip. All students move into the upper elementary level together for fifth and sixth-grade, and remain together for entrance to the middle school for grades 7 and 8.
Schools in the district (with 2014-15 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Countryside Elementary School (321 students; in grades PreK-4), Fleetwood Elementary School (391; K-4), Hillside Elementary School (321; K-4), Larchmont Elementary School (382; K-4), Parkway Elementary School (386; K-4), Springville Elementary School (461; K-4), Mount Laurel Hartford School (986; 5-6) and Thomas E. Harrington Middle School (964; 7-8). Parkway Elementary School was one of four schools in New Jersey recognized by the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, awarded by the United States Department of Education, for the 2005–06 school year.
Public school students from Mount Laurel in ninth through twelfth grades attend Lenape High School, located in Medford Township. As of the 2014-15 school year, the high school had an enrollment of 1,840 students and 150.7 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.2:1. Lenape High School is part of the Lenape Regional High School District, a regional secondary school district in Burlington County that also serves the eight municipalities of Evesham Township, Medford Lakes, Medford Township, Shamong Township, Southampton Township, Tabernacle Township and Woodland Township at its four high schools.
Students from Mount Laurel Township, and from all of Burlington County, are eligible to attend the Burlington County Institute of Technology, a countywide public school district that serves the vocational and technical education needs of students at the high school and post-secondary level at its campuses in Medford and Westampton Township.
As of May 2010, the township had a total of 170.19 miles (273.89 km) of roadways, of which 115.86 miles (186.46 km) were maintained by the municipality, 33.26 miles (53.53 km) by Burlington County and 13.55 miles (21.81 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 7.52 miles (12.10 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
The New Jersey Turnpike passes through Mount Laurel Township, entering from Cherry Hill Township in the township's southwest corner and continuing for about 7.5 miles (12.1 km) to Westampton Township at Mount Laurel's northern edge. The Turnpike's James Fenimore Cooper rest area is located between Interchanges 4 and 5 northbound at milepost 39.4. Mount Laurel also hosts the toll gate for Exit 4 of the Turnpike, which provides access to Route 73.
Interstate 295 passes through the township, with three exits (Exit 36: Berlin/Tacony Bridge/Route 73, Exit 40: Moorestown/Mount Holly/Route 38, Exit 43: Delran/Rancocas Woods). Other major thoroughfares through Mount Laurel are Route 38, Route 73 and County Route 537.
NJ Transit provides bus service to and from Philadelphia on routes 317 (from Asbury Park), the 413 route between Camden and Burlington and the 457 route between Moorestown Mall and Camden.
The Greyhound Lines bus station at 538 Fellowship Road 39°55′55″N 74°57′27.0″W provides service to Philadelphia, New York City, Atlantic City and other points.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Mount Laurel Township include:
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