Mount Laurel Township, New Jersey

Mount Laurel Township, New Jersey
Mount Laurel Township, New Jersey
—  Township  —
Mount Laurel Township highlighted in Burlington County. Inset map: Burlington County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Coordinates: 40°00′30″N 74°47′29″W / 40.00833°N 74.79139°W / 40.00833; -74.79139Coordinates: 40°00′30″N 74°47′29″W / 40.00833°N 74.79139°W / 40.00833; -74.79139
Country United States
State New Jersey
County Burlington
Incorporated March 7, 1872
 - Type Faulkner Act (Council-Manager)
 - Mayor Jim Keenan
 - Manager Jennifer Blumenthal[1]
 - Total 21.9 sq mi (56.8 km2)
 - Land 21.8 sq mi (56.5 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation[2] 56 ft (17 m)
Population (2007)[3]
 - Total 39,409
 - Density 1,844.3/sq mi (712.1/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 08054
Area code(s) 856
FIPS code 34-49020[4][5]
GNIS feature ID 0882104[6]

Mount Laurel Township is a Township in Burlington County, New Jersey, United States, and is an edge city "suburb" of Philadelphia. As of the 2000 United States Census, the township population was 40,221. It is also the home of NFL Films.

Mount Laurel Township was incorporated as a township by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 7, 1872, from portions of Evesham Township.[7]

Ramblewood is a census-designated place and unincorporated area located within Mount Laurel Township.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 21.9 square miles (56.8 km²), of which, 21.8 square miles (56.5 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (0.55%) is water.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1930 1,929
1940 2,189 13.5%
1950 2,817 28.7%
1960 5,249 86.3%
1970 11,221 113.8%
1980 17,614 57.0%
1990 30,270 71.9%
2000 40,221 32.9%
Est. 2009 44,701 [3] 11.1%
Population 1930–1990[8]

As of the census[4] of 2000, 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.


Local government

Mount Laurel Township changed its form of government in 1970 from a Township Committee form to a Council-Manager system under the Faulkner Act. In this form of government the Township Manager oversees the daily functions of the Township.

Township government consists of a Township Committee consists of five members elected at large in partisan elections to serve four-year terms on a staggered basis, with one or two seats coming up for election each year.[9]

As of 2011, members of the Mount Laurel Township Committee are Mayor Jim Keenan, Deputy Mayor Linda Bobo, David D'Antonio, Chris Smith and Lynn Solomon.[10]

Federal, state and county representation

Mount Laurel Township is in the 3rd Congressional district. New Jersey's Third Congressional District is represented by Jon Runyan (R, Mount Laurel Township). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Frank Lautenberg (D, Cliffside Park) and Bob Menendez (D, Hoboken).

Mount Laurel is in the 8th district of the New Jersey Legislature, which is represented in the New Jersey Senate by Dawn Marie Addiego (R, Evesham Township) and in the New Jersey General Assembly by Gerry Nardello (R, Mount Laurel Township) and Scott Rudder (R, Medford Township).[11][12]

Burlington County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders, whose five members are elected at-large to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with one or two seats coming up for election each year. As of 2011, Burlington County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director Bruce D. Garganio (Florence Township, 2012), Deputy Director Christopher J. Brown (Evesham Township, 2011), Joseph B. Donnelly (Cinnaminson Township, 2013), Mary Ann O'Brien (Medford Township, 2012) and Mary Anne Reinhart (Shamong Township, 2011).[13][14]


Laurel Acres Park

Laurel Acres Park is known for its Veteran's 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.[15]


For Kindergarten through eighth grade, public school students attend the Mount Laurel Schools. Schools in the district (with 2008-09 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics)[16] are six K-4 elementary schools — Countryside (329 students), Fleetwood (356), Hillside (395), Larchmont (404), Parkway (381) and Springville (427) — Mount Laurel Hartford School for grades 5 & 6 (1,015 students) and Thomas E. Harrington Middle School for grades 7 & 8 (1,035).

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.[17]

Public school students in Mount Laurel Township for grades 9-12 attend Lenape High School, located in Medford Township.[18] The high school is one of four schools in the Lenape Regional High School District, which serves students from Evesham Township, Medford Lakes, Medford Township, Mount Laurel Township, Shamong Township, Southampton Township, Tabernacle Township and Woodland Township.[19]


The New Jersey Turnpike passes through Mount Laurel Township. The Turnpike's James Fenimore Cooper rest area is located between Interchanges 4 and 5 northbound at milepost 39.4.[20] Mount Laurel hosts Exit 4 of the Turnpike, with the 4 toll gate consisting of 8 lanes at the gate.

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). Two other major thoroughfares through Mount Laurel are Route 38 and Route 73.

New Jersey Transit provides bus service to Philadelphia on the 317 and 413 bus routes, with local service on the 457 line.[21]

Mount Laurel Decision

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.[22]

The history behind this, and the story leading to the Decision was highlighted in a book by David L. Kirp called "Our Town".[23]

Mount Laurel was a small, poor rural farming community until it was hit with massive suburban growth from Philadelphia in the latter 1900s. Poor families, whose history had resided there for centuries, were suddenly priced and forced out. 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 perspectives by saying "If you people can't afford to live in our town, then you'll just have to leave."[23]

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, citing concerns of gang activity and an influx of inner city criminals. Exampled comments from town meetings against affordable housing included "we need this like Custer needed more Indians"; "it's reverse discrimination"; "we lived in this in South Philly and Newark" they said, and that the housing would be a "breeding ground for violent crime and drug abuse".[23]

Resident advocates of the housing 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 shot at.[24][25] Long time white residents also turned to try to force the poor blacks out of town. Although the court ruled in favor of creating affordable housing, residents did manage to delay the process for decades.[23]

Notable residents

Notable current and former residents of Mount Laurel Township include:


  1. ^ Township Administration, Mount Laurel Township. Accessed February 23, 2011.
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Township of Mount Holly, Geographic Names Information System. Accessed January 4, 2008.
  3. ^ a b Census data for Mount Laurel township, United States Census Bureau. Accessed September 1, 2008.
  4. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ A Cure for the Common Codes: New Jersey, Missouri Census Data Center. Accessed July 14, 2008.
  6. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ "The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606–1968", John P. Snyder, Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey; 1969. p. 97.
  8. ^ New Jersey Resident Population by Municipality: 1930–1990, Workforce New Jersey Public Information Network. Accessed March 1, 2007.
  9. ^ 2005 New Jersey Legislative District Data Book, Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, April 2005, p. 43.
  10. ^ Township Council, Mount Laurel Township. Accessed February 23, 2011.
  11. ^ "Legislative Roster: 2010-2011 Session". New Jersey Legislature. Retrieved 2011-01-25. 
  12. ^ "Former Mount Laurel mayor is chosen to fill seat of departing assemblyman". Newark Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2011-08-23. 
  13. ^ Meet the Freeholders, Burlington County, New Jersey Board of Chosen Freeholders. Accessed January 3, 2011.
  14. ^ Staff. BRUCE GARGANIO CHOSEN FREEHOLDER DIRECTOR FOR SECOND YEAR; CHRIS BROWN OF EVESHAM CHOSEN DEPUTY DIRECTOR, Burlington County, New Jersey press release dated January 1, 2011. Accessed January 3, 2011.
  15. ^ Laurel Acres Park is true gem "The park welcomes athletes of all ages and sports from novice walkers to organized teams. The Mount Laurel Baseball League and the Mount Laurel United Soccer Club play here." Accessed July 30, 2008.
  16. ^ Data for the Mount Laurel Schools, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed March 24, 2011.
  17. ^ "Schools selected as No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon Schools in 2005". Retrieved May 2, 2006. 
  18. ^ Lenape High School 2010 Report Card Narrative, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed March 24, 2011. "ATTENDANCE AREA: Mount Laurel"
  19. ^ Lenape Regional High School District 2010 Report Card Narrative, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed March 24, 2011. "The Lenape Regional High School District serves the eight municipalities of Evesham, Medford, Mount Laurel, Shamong, Southampton, Tabernacle and Woodland Townships and Medford Lakes Borough."
  20. ^ New Jersey Turnpike: James Fenimore Cooper Service Area, accessed May 31, 2006 Archived January 17, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Burlington County Bus/Rail Connections, New Jersey Transit. Accessed July 15, 2007.
  22. ^ History of Mount Laurel Decisions, Accessed August 22, 2009.
  23. ^ a b c d Kirp, David L. (1995). Rutgers University Press. Springer-Verlag. ISBN 0813522536. 
  24. ^ Tribute to Ethel Robinson Lawrence "Ethel was the second of eight children born to Mary and Leslie Robinson. At the time, Mount Laurel, in Burlington County, was a rural enclave of farms. Most residents were white, but there was a small black population. Ethel Lawrence was among them. The family resided in Mount Laurel for over six generations." Accessed March 14, 2008.
  25. ^ Kirp, David L. (2000), Almost home: America's love-hate relationship with community, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-09517-5, p. 79: "Ethel Lawrence and Mary Robinson were sure that the township council would go along. After all, Mount Laurel was their town too and had been for generations."
  26. ^ Assemblyman Chatzidakis's Legislative Website, New Jersey Legislature, backed up by the Internet Archive as of January 27, 2008. Accessed March 25, 2011.
  27. ^ Evan Amos (28 April 2011). "Evan Amos interview with Matt Duke". Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  28. ^ Staff. "SJ Faces: Matt Duke", Courier-Post, January 8, 2006. Accessed June 19, 2011. "Musician Matt Duke is a 20-year-old native of Mount Laurel who is recording his first acoustic album for release in March."
  29. ^ Parrillo, Ray. "FAMILIAR FOE FOR MICHIGAN'S HOBSON THE SWIFT LINEBACKER, WHO STARRED AT ST. JOE'S PREP, KNOWS A LOT OF THE PENN STATE PLAYERS HE WILL FACE SATURDAY.", The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 9, 2000. Accessed March 25, 2011. "Hobson is a redshirted junior who grew up in Mount Laurel."
  30. ^ Sims, Gayle Ronan. "An entrepreneur's final act of generosity", The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 16, 2007. Accessed March 25, 2011. "A funeral service will be held Friday for Mr. Hovnanian, 80, who never stopped striving to make the world a better place for his family, the Armenian people and the underdog. The Iraqi-born Armenian American died after collapsing at his Mount Laurel residence that day."
  31. ^ Rys, Richard. "John Kruk", Philadelphia (magazine), June 2007. Accessed March 25, 2011. "Another surprise, at least to us, is that he lives in Mount Laurel, keeping such a low profile that Exit Interview didn’t even know he was still here."
  32. ^ Kahn, Eve M. "Group Seeks to Buy a Suffragist's Home", The New York Times, July 13, 1989. Accessed March 25, 2011. "The Alice Paul Centennial Foundation plans to buy the house in Mount Laurel, but first the organization must raise $500,000 by Sept. 8.... The 2½-story, stucco-clad brick farmhouse was built in 1840 and once overlooked the Paul family's 173-acre (0.70 km2) Burlington County farm, east of Camden. Miss Paul was born in an upstairs bedroom in 1885 and lived in the house until she left for Swarthmore College in 1901."
  33. ^ Picken, Barbara and Gail Greenberg (1972), Mount Laurel: a centennial history, p.36: "Dave Robinson at the Hula Bowl which honored him as a Penn State senior in the late 1950s. Robinson was an All-American at Penn State and became a defensive end for the Green Bay Packers. He is the son of Mrs. Mary Robinson."
  34. ^ Carison, Chuck (2004). Game of my life: 25 stories of Packers football. Sports Publishing ISBN 1-58261-814-3, p.122: "Hometown: Mount Laurel, New Jersey"
  35. ^ Brookover, Bob. "Free agent Runyan to visit Jets today: The right tackle is also talking to the Birds. His goal is to stay near home and also get a good deal.", The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 21, 2006. Accessed March 25, 2011. "Runyan, 32, said this is likely to be his last NFL contract, and it is clear that he would like to remain with the Eagles if the price is right. Barring that, he wants to remain as close to his Mount Laurel home as possible."
  36. ^ Wagman, Jake. "He is Mount Laurel's Angel", The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 21, 2002. Accessed March 25, 2011. "The parents of World Series pitcher Scott Schoeneweis want to set the record straight. Yes, he was born at a hospital in Long Branch, Monmouth County. And he did attend Lenape High School in Medford. But their little angel is a Mount Laurel native, through and through."
  37. ^ Venutolo, Anthony. "Jill Scott performs 'chapters' of life in NJPAC concert", The Star-Ledger, March 7, 2008. Accessed January 30, 2011. "A 35-year-old Philadelphia native who lives in Mount Laurel, Scott has one of the strongest, most commanding voices in R&B, and an open-minded approach to music."
  38. ^ Kravitz, Gary. "Where Are They Now: KR/PR Vai Sikahema", Philadelphia Eagles, April 2, 2004. Accessed March 25, 2011. "Sikahema currently resides in Mount Laurel, N.J., with his wife Keala and four children: Landon, L.J., Trey, and Lana."
  39. ^ Lydon, Kate. "Philip the award winning Spaeth – up-and-coming young dancer Philip Spaeth comments on his career so far – Interview", Dance Magazine, December 2003. Accessed January 30, 2011. "Just like most high school seniors in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, Spaeth's day begins in the classroom. Unlike his friends, however, Spaeth leaves school at 12:45 P.M. So he can catch a bus into New York City for dance classes. It takes one hour and twenty minutes each way—he does much of his homework on the bus."
  40. ^ Staff. "Evands has a less-than-stellar homecoming", The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 16, 2010. Accessed January 30, 2011. "That honor went to one of Evans' teammates, 6–11 Jason Thompson of Mount Laurel and Lenape High."

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