Village of Euclid v. Amber Realty Co.
- Euclid, OH is a suburb of Cleveland. Has three highways and two railways running through it.
- P (Amber Realty) owns a tract of 68 acres on the westerly end of the village between Euclid avenue and a railroad. On the east and west of it there are residential plats.
- Village council adopted a comprehensive zoning plan for regulating and restricting the land use.
- Village was divided into 6 classes of use districts (U-1 to U-6); three classes of height districts (H-1 to H-3); and four classes of area districts (A-1 to A-4).
- U-1: single family dwellings, farming, public parks, etc.
- U-2: extended to two-family dwellings.
- U-3: includes apartments, hotels, churches, schools, libraries, museums, etc.
- U-4: includes banks, offices, studios, fire and police stations, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, wholesale stores, etc.
- U-5: includes billboards and advertising signs, cold storage plants, dry cleaning, blacksmiths, repair shops, etc.
- U-6: includes plants for sewage disposal, garbage incineration, scrap storage, aviation fields, cemeteries, penal institutions, manufacturing and industrial operations, etc.
- A seventh class of uses is prohibited altogether.
- Amber Realty's tract of land falls under U-2, U-3 and U-6.
- AR challenges the zoning under due process and equal protection, as well as the OH constitution.
- Asks for an injunction restraining the enforcement of the ordinance.
- Lower Court held the ordinance to be unconstitutional and void.
- SCOTUS reversed, ordinances constitutional.
- When is a zoning ordinance constitutionally valid?
- Can zoning ordinances forbid industrial development in certain areas without violating due process rights?
- Can zoning ordinances forbid retail and apartment development in residential areas?
- A zoning ordinance is constitutionally valid when it bears a substantial relation to the health, safety, convenience, and general welfare of the inhabitants.
- Zoning ordinances can forbid industrial development in certain areas without violating due process rights of the landowner.
- Zoning ordinances can forbid retail and apartment development in residential areas.
- AR alleges that the tract of land in question is vacant and has been held for years for the purpose of selling and developing it for industrial uses and that it has a market value of $10k/acre.
- However, zoning restrictions limiting it to residential use give it a market value of $2.5k/acre.
- Lower court found that the normal and reasonably to be expected use of that tract is for general trade and commercial purposes as well as industrial and trade purposes.
- Court compares zoning regulations regarding industry to traffic laws: they are something that became necessary due to advancing technology.
- Scope of constitutional guaranties' application must expand and contract to meet the new and different conditions that come within the field of their operation.
- Zoning ordinances must find their justification in some aspect of police power.
- Validity must be considered in the context of the circumstances and locality.
- Here, all industrial establishments are forbidden, which might result in some industries that are neither dangerous or offensive from being excluded.
- However, this often happens is many practice-forbidding laws that have been upheld by the Court.
- Sometimes it is hard to separate the good from the bad using legislation.
- Serious question arises over the provisions of the ordinance excluding apartment homes, business houses, and retail shops.
- Court has not spoken yet on whether this is allowed.
- State courts seem to be trending toward allowing this.
- Grounds for these conclusions are that it is rationally related to health and safety of the community.
- Claim that it promotes health and security from the injury of children, facilitates extinguishment of fires, aids the enforcement of traffic regulations, etc.
- Claim that apartment homes retards the development of detached house sections and interfere with the free circulation of air, sun rays, etc.
- These reasons are sufficiently cogent to preclude the Court from saying that such provisions are arbitrary and unreasonable and have no substantial relation to the public welfare.
- An as-applied challenge might hold up here if a particular restriction is unreasonable, but a facial challenge does not hold water.