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Planning Law

Major Court Cases in Planning History

Mugler v. Kansas 1887. US Supreme Court ruled that the duty to strike down local laws that do not have a real or substantial relation to the police power (protect the health, safety, welfare and morals of the community).
United States v. Gettysburg Electric Railway Col. 1896. The first significance legal case concerning historic preservation. The US Supreme Court rules that the acquisition of the national battlefield at Gettysburg served a valid public purpose.
Commonwealth of Mass v. EPA 2006. Comm. of Mass sued EPA for not regulating GHG emissions under the CAA. Went back and forth, Mass. eventually won and GHGs were considered "air pollutants" that needed to be regulated in protection of public health.
City of Rancho Palos Verdes v. Abrams 2004. RPV gave Abrams permit for antenna on property, but learned using it for commercial uses. Said he needed CUP, but refused to give CUP. Abrams sued under Tele Act of 1996. Finding: Abrams won, bc he could seek damages under other federal laws.
City of Rancho Palos Verdes v. Abrams (moral) Moral: People whose rights are guaranteed by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 are violated may not seek remedies other than those allowed by the act. Abrams was seeking damages under the Act, but wasn't allowed to.
Kelo v. City of New London 2004. Eminent domain. Kelo's property seized for econ dev purposes. Kelo sued under 5th Amendment's taking clause (can't take w/o just compensation). New London won - taking of property for econ dev IS a good public purpose.
Lingle v. Cheveron USA 2004. Hawaii impose rent cap on oil companies to control retail gas prices. Cheveron sued for taking of property. Cheveron won bc not a taking per Agins test, but a taking per Severity test. Agins was an inappropriate test for this taking.
Agins v. City of Tiburon 1980. Court declared that government regulation of private property is a taking if it does not "substantially advance legitimate state interests." (as opposed to Severity of Burden test).
Lingle v. Cheveron USA (moral) Takings clause challenges to regulations had to be based on the severity of the burden that the regulation imposed upon property rights; not the effectiveness of the regulation in furthering state/government interests.
San Remo Hotel v. San Francisco 2004. San Remo Hotel sued SF for conversion fee and claimed it was a taking. State court ruled in favor of SF. San Remo took to federal court to try again, but under "full faith and credit" statue could not bc it was already resolved in State court.
San Remo Hotel v. San Francisco (moral) The rejected the argument that whenever plaintiffs reserved their federal takings claims in state court, federal courts should review the reserved federal claims, regardless of the issues decided by the state court.
Civil Liberties for Urban Believers v. City of Chicago 2003. City of Chicago zoning ord. allowed churches by right in res zones, but needed CUP in commercial/business districts. Plaintiffs sued under Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) and Equal Protection Clause of 14th Amendment.
Civil Liberties for Urban Believers v. City of Chicago (moral) If you treat like uses alike, you are not in violation of the Act or the 14th Amendment. The City of Chicago's zoning ord. did not infringe on the church's ability to site.
Welch v. Swasey 1909. The US Supreme Court upholds municipal regulation of building heights. This validated the use of construction standards to uphold public safety.
Hadacheck v. Sebastian 1915. US Supreme Court upheld a municipal regulation that governed the placement of land uses. Zoning case that involved the operation of a brickyard w/in LA.
Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon 1922. First decision to hold that a land use restriction = a taking. The Supreme Court noted "property may be regulated to a certain extent, but if regulation goes too far it will be recognized as a taking" = "regulatory taking"
Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty. 1926. Constitutionality of zoning upheld by the US Supreme Court - case argued by Alfred Bettman
Nectow v. City of Cambridge 1928. The US Supreme Court ruled that a local zoning ordinance can be considered unconstitutional, and be struck down, if it is not tied to a valid public purpose under the police power.
Bove v. Donner-Hanna Coke Corp 1932. The court ruled that an owner cannot make use of his property if it creates a material annoyance to his neighbor or if his neighbor's property or life is materially lessened by the use.
Berman v. Parker 1954. USSC upholds right of Wash DC. Redevelopment Agency to condemn properties that are unsightly, though non-deteriorated, if required to achieve objectives of a redevelopment plan/public welfare (aesthetics) Eminent Domain, sold to private developers
Brown v. Board of Education 1954. Supreme Court upholds school integration.
Jones v. Mayer 1968. Racial barriers cannot affect the acquisition of property.
James v. Valtierra 1971. The US Supreme Court upheld an amendment to the California constitution mandating a referendum on all housing projects because an intent to racially discriminate could not be found.
Calvert Cliffs Coordinating Committee v. US Atomic Energy Commission. 1971. US Supreme Court found that an approval for a nuclear power plant was not properly granted because it violated NEPA. The decision solidified the place of NEPA in the development world.
Golden v. Planning Board of Ramapo 1972. New York high court allows the use of performance criteria as a means of slowing community growth.
Fasano v. Board of County Commissioners of Washington County 1973. The Oregon Supreme Court rules that all zoning and rezoning must be consistent with applicable comprehensive plans.
Village of Belle Terre v. Boraas 1974. The US Supreme Court rules that limiting residents of housing units to related individuals was a legitimate use of the police power, eliminating many fundamental civil rights challenges to local regulations.
Construction Industry Association of Sonoma County v. City of Petaluma 1975. Court finds that quotas on the annual number of building permits issued was a constitutional use of the police power, in order to slow rapid pop and housing growth, and correct an imbalance btw the supply of SF and MF housing units.
Southern Burlington County NAACP v. Township of Mt. Laurel I 1975. New Jersey, Mt. Laurel could not create exclusionary zoning ordinances that prohibited low-income housing. The ruling forced certain jurisdictions to rewrite their zoning laws to allow fair share for creation of affordable housing.
City of Eastlake v. Forest City Enterprises 1976. The US Supreme Court rules that a mandate that all rezonings be subject to referendum is constitutional because no intent to discriminate could be found.
Young v. American Mini Theaters, Inc. 1976. The court upheld a zoning provision mandating the decentralization of sexually oriented businesses based on studies showing a detriment to society as a result of clustering.
Associated Home Builders of Greater East Bay v. City of Livermore 1976. The California Supreme Court found that temporary moratoria on building permit issuance was constitutional to ensure that adequate public services (sewer, water, fire, schools) were paced with development and growth.
Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Development Corp. 1977. Equal protection case. A regulation effectively denying housing to people based on race, immigration status, or national origin was unconstitutional.
other part of Village of Arlington Heights v. Metro Housing Dev Corp. Further a regulation effectively denying housing to people based on gender or illegitimacy must substantially advance a legitimate state interest and be passed or enforced with intent to discriminate.
Penn Central Transportation Co. v. City of New York 1978. US Supreme Court upholds NYC's Landmark Preservation Law for Grand Central Terminal. The Court found that barring some development of air rights was not a taking when the interior of the property could be put to lucrative use.
Central Hudson v. Public Service Commission The US Supreme Court finds that for a regulation involving first amendment right to survive, it must 1) advance a compelling state interest, 2) allow a reasonable alternative means of communication
Central Hudson v. Public Service Commission (cont.) 3) is as narrowly defined as possible, and 4) is a reasonable time, place, and manner restriction.
Agins v. City of Tiburon 1980. Makes clear that a regulation that is not reasonably related to the police power and causes a property to lose all economic value constitutes a taking.
Metromedia v. City of San Diego 1981. The US Supreme Court holds that neither commercial nor non-commercial speech can be favored over the other. The ordinance was overturned because it effectively banned non-commercial signs.
Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corp. 1982. US Supreme Court confirms that a physical invasion of a property is a taking.
Members of City Council v. Taxpayers for Vincent US Supreme Court upheld a regulation that prohibited the attaching of signs to utility poles. The Court found that the regulation met all the tests mentioned under Central Hudson, above.
City of Cleburne v. Cleburn Living Center 1985. US SC ruled that an ordinance that does treat different groups unequally, but doesn't involve a fundamental right or group that gained protection under Vil. of Arlington Heights (1977) - pass rational basis test. this case failed rational basis test
City of Renton v. Playtime Theaters, Inc. 1986. US Supreme Court allowed a zoning ordinance limiting sexually-oriented businesses to 5% of the municipal land area to stand based on a study conducted on the negative effects the business type has on surrounding areas.
First English Evangelical Lutheran Church v. County of Los Angeles 1987. USSC finds even a temp taking requires compensation. In Nollan case, it finds that land-use restrictions, to be valid, must be tied to a specific public purpose. Court found that full payment of property's worth is not the sole remedy for a taking
Cohen v. Des Planes 1990. The US SC ruled that zoning cannot be used to grant religious institutions advantages over other commercial uses. The Court overturned a zoning provision that allowed a church to run a day care in a residential zone where no one else could do so.
Oregon v. Smith 1990. Second case. Court ruled that zoning that is neutral on its face was permissible so long as it doesn't hinder the religion itself. This particular case upheld a ban on the use of peyote in Native American religious services.
Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council 1992. The US Supreme Court limits local and state governments' ability to restrict private property without compensation. 2 kinds of takings (regulatory and categorical)
Dolan v. City of Tigard 1994. The US Supreme Court rules that a jurisdiction must show that there is a "rough proportionality" between the adverse impacts of a proposed development and the exactions is wishes to impose on the developer.
Sierra v. Tahoe 2002. US Supreme Court rules that a temporary building moratorium for the purpose of conducting planning studies to protect the public health, safety, welfare and morals is a legitimate use of police power and does not constitute a taking.
Citizens to Preserve Overton Park v. Volpe 1971. According to the US Supreme Court, all environmental impact reviews must consider alternatives that minimize environmental impacts. Known as the HARD LOOK DOCTRINE.
Just v. Marinette County 1972. Upheld zoning ord that prevented a private prop owner from devpling wetlands adjacent to a navigable waterway. Court ruled state could use police power to enforce env prtction regs on private property = no taking bc env protect is in public interest
Sierra Club v. Morton 1972. The Sierra Club attempted to sue the US Forest Service bc it allowed a ski resort to be constructed in the Sequoia National Forest. However, the US Supreme Court disallowed the suit because the forest was not harmed in any way.
Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill 1978. According to US Supreme Court, the Secretary of Interior can determine whether or not a federal activity could harm a threatened or endangered species. This decision stopped construction of a $100 million dam in Tennessee.
Monsanto v. US 1989. If an absentee landowner leases land to another person who pollutes it without the landowner's knowledge, the landowner is partially liable for removing any hazardous waste.
General Electric Co. v. Litton Industrial Automation Systems, Inc. 1990. The liability statues within CERLA can only be waived for acts of God, acts of war, and unusual acts of a third party.
Babbitt v. Sweet Home Chapter of Commerce for a Great Oregon 1996. The US Supreme Court allowed the government to protect endangered species and their habitat by restricting land development.
Palazzolo v. State of Rhode Island 2001. Supreme Court ruled that the government was not engaged in taking Anthony Palazzolo's property by refusing to let him fill his wetlands.
People v. Stover 1963. The NY Court of Appeals decided the state government could impose land use laws for purely aesthetic reasons. The Stovers were forbidden from hanging rags and other unsightly articles from their clothesline. They were doing so to protest high taxes
Cheney v. Village of New Hope 1968. The Supreme Court of Penn validated the Planned Unit Development (PUD) process. According to the court, PUD did not infringe upon the municipal comprehensive plan and did not grant extra legislative powers to the planning commission.
Spurs Industries, Inc. v. Del E. Webb Development Co. 1972. The AZ court of appeals forced the movement of a large cattle operation in order to make way for increased urban development; however, the court also required the developers to compensate the cattle operations for expenses and damages.
First English Evangelical Lutheran Church of Glendale v. County of Los Angeles 1987. The US Supreme Court ruled that Los Angeles had violate the taking clause when it required the church to place a public easement on its beachfront property in exchange for constructing a building.
City of Ladue v. Gilleo 1994. According to the US Supreme Court, a municipality could not prohibit a person from placing a noncommercial sign within the window of a private residence.
Del Monte Dunes v. City of Monterey 1992. The US Supreme Court ruled that a person has a right to trial by jury in regulatory takings cases.
Tahoe Sierra Preservation Council v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency 2002. According to the US Supreme Court, development moratoria do not necessarily constitute a taking and, therefore, do not always require just compensation.
Suitum v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency 1997. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency passed regulations forbidding the development of certain undeveloped lots near Lake Tahoe. Bc of a Transfer of Dev Rights program, Suitum had the legal right to sell his dev option.
Suitum (cont). However, Suitum did not try to sell the dev rights and instead sued the agency on grounds claiming a taking w/o just comp. Lower courts said law wasn't ripe bc Suitum never tried to sell rights. SC reversed this and said reg taking could be adjudicated
Moore v. City of East Cleveland 1977. US Supreme Court, East Cleveland could not create ordinances that prohibited closely related individuals from sharing occupancy. Furthermore, no city could define family in such a way that close relatives were excluded from living together.
Southern Burlington County NAACP v. Township of Mt. Laurel II 1983. Bc Mt. Laurel wasn't complying with the previous fair share ruling, court was forced to est standards for fair share requirements(affirmative measures). Eliminated density bonuses, mandatory set asides, mobile home zoning, and restrictive barriers.
National Land Investment Co. V Kohn 1965. Set a minimum lot size to 4 acres bc City didn't want to build roads and infrastructure (growth management tactic?). Supreme Court considered this exclusionary.
Eubank v. City of Richmond 1912. Setbacks.
Keystone Coal v. DeBenedictis 1986. Subsidence. Penn required that miners remove no more than 50% of coal beneath structures to prevent subsidence. "mining estates" below and "surface estates" above, bc mining damaged surface structure. Miners claimed this was a taking (but wasn't).
Created by: jlongabaugh