Section 1. Grant of PowerEmpowers municipalities to regulate and restrict the height, number of stories, and size of buildings and other structures, the percentage of lot that may be occupied, the size of yards, courts, and other open spaces, the density of population, and the location and use of buildings, structures, and land for trade, industry, residence or other purposes. Id. at 21214.
Section 2. DistrictsPermits division of municipalities into districts (zones) of appropriate number, shape, and area, and provides that regulations may vary from district to district. See id. at 214.
Section 3. Purposes in ViewRequires that regulations be made in accordance with a comprehensive plan and designed to lessen congestion in the streets; to secure safety from fire, panic, and other dangers; to promote health and the general welfare; to provide adequate light and air; to prevent the overcrowding of land; to avoid undue concentration of population; to facilitate the adequate provision of transportation, water, sewerage, schools, parks, and other public requirements. Such regulations shall be made with reasonable consideration, among other things, to the character of the district and its peculiar suitability for particular uses, and with a view to conserving the value of buildings and encouraging the most appropriate use of land throughout [the] municipality. Id. at 21415.
Section 4. Method of ProcedureRequires the enactment of procedures by which to establish, enforce, and change regulations. See id. at 215.
Section 5. ChangesPermits modification and repeal of regulations. See id. at 21617.
Section 6. Zoning CommissionRequires appointment of a zoning commission to recommend district boundaries and regulations. See id. at 217.
Section 7. Board of AdjustmentAuthorizes appointment of a board of adjustment to hear appeals and make special exceptions to regulations in appropriate cases and subject to appropriate conditions and safeguards . . . , and also to permit such variance from the terms of the ordinance as will not be contrary to the public interest, where, owing to special conditions, a literal enforcement of the provisions of the ordinance will result in unnecessary hardship, and so that the spirit of the ordinance shall be observed and substantial justice done. Id. at 21820.
Section 8. Enforcement and RemediesDeclares that violations of regulations shall be misdemeanors punishable by fine or imprisonment; civil penalties are also authorized. See id. at 22021.
Section 9. Conflict with Other LawsProvides that in instances of conflict between zoning regulations and other laws controlling land use, the more stringent shall apply.
See id. at 221.
Obviously, police power is not susceptible of exact definition. It would be more difficult, even if it were not unwise, to attempt a more exact definition than has been given. And yet there is a wide difference between the power of eminent domain and the police power; and it is not true that the public welfare is a justification for the taking of private property for the general good . . . A law or ordinance passed under the guise of the police power which invades private property as above defined can be sustained only when it has a real and substantial relation to the maintenance and preservation of the public peace, public order, public morals, or public safety. The courts never hesitate to look through the false pretense to the substance.
The plain truth is that the true object of the ordinance in question is to place all the property in an undeveloped area of 16 square miles in a straight jacket. The purpose to be accomplished is really to regulate the mode of living of persons who may hereinafter inhabit it. In the last analysis, the result to be accomplished is to classify the population and segregate them according to their income or situation in life.
Under zoning, the territory is opened to the shop keeper or to the store- keeper only when and only as public consideration and general welfare and as the general trend dictate and the necessary enactment would naturally be noted only when the residence district becomes obsolete or has grown to be worn out or when it presents a situation where the general welfare would be better served if trades or factories or other uses were allowed to come in.
[M]odern tendencies are rapidly destroying and undermining the continuance of separate and individual homes and residences.
The best minds of America are exhorting Congress and the States to do all that is possible in order to stem and prevent this tendency. As each city grows, there are proportionately less families living in houses than in apartments and tenements and above stores. The bulwark and the stamina of this country has always been credited and conceded to the home owning tendencies of the American People.
How can it be said that this Ordinance is addressed to any of the well-known objects of the police power under such circumstances, for the Ordinance does not attempt to protect residences from the proximity of industrial undertakings, but only to protect certain sections of land from being occupied by both uses. This section conclusively shows that the Ordinance is not designed to protect the health, safety and comfort of the public.
Manifestly, if the health, safety and comfort of a family require 5,000 square feet of lot area in one part of the Village of Euclid they require it in all parts of the Village. Conversely, if the health, safety and comfort of a family are adequately provided for by a minimum of 700 square feet of lot area in any part of the Village of Euclid, the same minimum will serve the same purpose in every part of the Village.
The ordinance is declared to be in fulfillment of a desire of the citizens of the village to preserve the present character of said village and to provide for the general welfare of the citizens thereof, which may or may not be for the general welfare, as that term is properly used; that is to say, the general welfare which is the basis of the police power does not necessarily mean the particular local and private welfare of the people, or of some of the people, resident within the accidental political limits of the village. The general welfare which recognizes the Village of Euclid as merely a constituent element of our general society and expects it to share the burdens, as it enjoys the benefits common to that society, is the general welfare upon which the police power rests.
[F]rom [the most healthful and desirable residence districts] all are excluded except those who are able to maintain the more costly establishments of single family residences. . . . No apartment house or two-family house can be erected in [these districts], and yet the men, women and children who, for reasons of convenience or necessity, live in apartment houses or in the more restricted surroundings of two-family residences are of all others most in need of the refreshing access to the lake or the better air of the wooded upland.
[T]he man who seeks to place the home for his children in an orderly neighborhood, with some open space and light and fresh air and quiet, is not motivated so much by considerations of taste or beauty as by the assumption that his children are likely to grow mentally, physically and morally more healthful in such a neighborhood than in a disorderly, noisy, slovenly, blighted and slum-like district. This assumption is indubitably correct.
Own your own home is a slogan based on this realization of the advantages, in the way of health, which come from the home which has a surrounding or environment of sunlight, air, quiet, and cleanliness. Parents prefer to bring up children in such environment, not for any snobbish or aesthetic reasons, but because it promotes the health, mental, moral and physical, of the children.
Different classes of business and industries are segregated to districts adapted to their needs. Apartments and double houses are allotted to other territories while areas for single houses are always provided. The desirability of zoning laws in suburbs of large cities seems to be proven by the experience of many home communities where it has been tried. Retail business, manufacturing and nuisances are not allowed to creep into residential districts, destroying home values and undermining the elements of permanency and exclusiveness, which make residential districts desirable.
Building zone laws are of modern origin. They began in this country about 25 years ago. Until recent years, urban life was comparatively simple; but with the great increase and concentration of population, problems have developed, and constantly are developing, which require, and will continue to require, additional restrictions in respect of the use and occupation of private lands in urban communities. Regulations, the wisdom, necessity and validity of which, as applied to existing conditions, are so apparent that they are now uniformly sustained, a century ago, or even half a century ago, probably would have been rejected as arbitrary and oppressive.