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Exclusionary Zoning Case

This law review article discusses the constitutional law aspects and effects of exclusionary zoning during the period leading up to and including the Supreme Court's decision in Village of Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co. 272 U.S. 365 (1926) and subsequently. Although from their inception, an important purpose and effect of the zoning involved in Euclid and other pre-World War II city and suburban zoning ordinances and regulations was economic or de facto segregation along class, ethnic and racial lines, federal and case law decisions were not based on a segregation rationale; rather, they followed an elaborate common law and later welfare state jurisprudence which were rooted in balancing private property rights and the police powers of local government in the federal system. However, while the Supreme Court and the federal courts generally have remained reluctant to reverse the holding of Euclid, Supreme Courts and legislatures in some states have taken steps since the 1970s to limit the power of municipalities to enact exclusionary zoning which discriminates against the poor and racial minorities.

In crowded England, zoning restrictions date back to the Parliament of the time of Queen Elizabeth I which in 1580 enacted legislation which made it illegal to construct buildings on any lot of less than four acres. In the United States, zoning legislation and ordinances were a manifestation of the city planning movement which itself was the product of the urban growth which accompanied industrialization in the last quarter of the 19th century. According to Lees, "zoning --the systematic regulation of land use--was an outgrowth of planners' efforts to order the urban environment" and its surrounding areas.

Traditionally, the only legal constraint on the private development and exploitation of privately owned real property was the law of nuisance under which an aggrieved party could go into court and claim that his neighbor w...

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Exclusionary Zoning Case. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:59, August 15, 2020, from