Appleseed justice centers across the country seek to amplify community voices and empower community members to be involved in decision-making processes. At New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center, Executive Director Renee Steinhagen is engaged in multiple litigation efforts helping community groups to properly participate in administrative and judicial hearings and enforce community empowerment provisions.
In Jersey City, Renee is representing a community development corporation in a case challenging an amendment to a Redevleopment Plan that ignored the twenty-year old community empowerment mandates embedded in that Plan, and paves the way for a controversial development to be built on land intended to be used for greenspace. She will also be representing multiple community groups in an amicus brief in support of the Fair Housing Center’s challenge to a city ordinance that would allow Jersey City municipal officers to trade away affordable housing units as part of quid pro quo agreements with developers. The ordinance was pushed through after hours of community complaints and without referral to the city’s Planning Board, a requirement for inclusionary zoning laws in Jersey City.
In East Brunswick, where a judge this summer ruled in favor of a new housing development that is to be built on environmentally sensitive wetlands, NJA represented two environmental groups in an appellate amicus brief asking for the developers to produce an updated letter of interpretation that would delineate the boundaries of the wetlands before beginning construction.
New Jersey Appleseed believes that community development decisions must be made by listening to impacted community members and organizations. By representing community groups in these cases, Renee is lifting up their voices and fighting for fair local decision-making processes.
We appreciate your support of the Appleseed Network and our efforts to engage with and amplify the voices in our communities. Check out more of New Jersey Appleseed's work on community and environmental health.