When comes to how you can use your property, Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co. (1926) held that a zoning board can tell you how to use your property- or get out.
Here’s the facts of Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co.. The appellee, Amber Realty Co., said ther land was devalued by a city ordinance which basically amounted to a taking under the constitution. In the Village of Euclid, the appellee owned 60 acres of land. Anyways, the appellee, Village of Euclid, enacted an ordinance which chopped up the village into “uses” which the appellee didn’t fit into. Moreover, the Appellee and their lawyers argued the ordinance violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution as being a deprivation of liberty and property without due process of law. Given these facts, the appellee seeks an injunction against the ordinance as a remedy; however, when the lower courts ruled against the appellee, they appealed to a higher court, the Supreme Court.
Here’s the issue in Village of Euclid v. Ambler Reality Company: Is the village’s ordinance constitutional?
The Supreme Court ruled against the lower court. They said “yes”. A city or village can determine how the land in their city is used. The higher court reversed the decision by the lower court in this case and ruled for the appellant.
This case laid down a black letter rule in property law. That is, an ordinance is based on the police power, which the city exercised via the BZA, so the ordinance is a proper use of the state police power and therefore constitutional. Also, the court used the doctrine of nuisance as a way to examine the proper use of the city ordinance
The case makes a few good points about zoning boards and property. First, when it comes to housing or any kind of real property, a zoning board can tell you how to use your land even though you think otherwise. Second, zoning boards, even though members are not elected or receive little to no training for their position, can determine the how you use your land. Third, given the police power of zoning boards, their decisions are often deferred to by the courts and unchallenged. This case highlights some interesting points about power and zoning boards.
In conclusion, Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co. is an interesting case. It set the standard how city land can be used, and this case precedent was adopted across the USA. Also, it reveals how a group of unelected individuals can tell you how you can you your property in any given city across the USA. Anyways, these boards are often all powerful and the courts will follow their decisions.