Campus status

Message from Rutgers-Newark on Newark's Water Quality More Contact UsCampus Emergency Procedures


John Payne, Noted Affordable Housing and Land Use Scholar and Beloved Teacher at Rutgers Law School–Newark, Dies

Add This

Newark, NJ – John M. Payne, Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor at Rutgers School of Law–Newark and key participant in the Mt. Laurel cases, died today of brain cancer at Rosary Hill Home in Hawthorne, NY. He was 67 years old. Services are private. A memorial service will be held at the law school in the fall.

“John Payne was an extraordinarily creative, thoughtful, dedicated, and socially responsible teacher, lawyer and scholar,” said Dean Stuart L. Deutsch. “His leadership and advocacy in the housing reform and historic preservation movements together with his devotion to the advancement of Rutgers Law School and the University enriched Rutgers, the state, and the nation.”

For more than 20 years Professor Payne was the key intellectual force as well as a leading lawyer in the Mt. Laurel cases, which established the requirement that growing suburban communities include provisions for low and moderate income housing in their zoning regulations. His nationally recognized Mt. Laurel work led to a reconceptualization of the field of housing law and a shift in thinking from a world in which there was no right to housing opportunity to one in which decent shelter is considered a fundamental right.

Professor Payne was also a driving force for historic preservation in New Jersey and critical to protecting the work and legacy of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. He was a former president of the national Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and former director of Preservation New Jersey, the New Jersey partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

As an academic, Professor Payne wrote and lectured extensively. In addition to his Mt. Laurel writing and articles on housing and historic preservation issues, he co-edited one of the most highly respected and widely-used casebooks on land development and land law use (Planning and Control of Land Development, 7th ed., 2008, with Daniel Mandelker et al.).

Professor Payne joined the Rutgers faculty in 1971. He served as Associate Dean from 1976 to 1981 and from 1986 to 1991, and chaired most standing committees and special committees at the law school. He received his B.A. from Yale and his J.D. from Harvard.

Media Contact: Janet Donohue