The purpose of zoning is in general two-fold: to preserve the existing character of an area by excluding prejudicial uses, and to provide for the development of the several areas in a manner consistent with the uses for which they are suited. The regulations should be related to the character of the district which they affect; and should be designed to serve the welfare of those who own and occupy land in those districts.
The board of supervisors passed a zoning ordinance that restricted single family residences in the western part of the county to a two-acre site, but allowed request for smaller lots to be grandfathered if they were made within two years. Although the board of supervisors argued that the purpose of the zoning ordinance was to prevent exhaustion of ground water supplies and the danger to public health caused by septic systems, the circuit court found that the real purpose was to prevent the development of the western part as a residential area and to channel the county's population into the eastern part, where the costs of operating government would be more economical.
Was the ordinance related to health, safety, morals, or general welfare of the owners or residents of the area?
The court found that the effect of the grandfather part of the ordinance was to permit a person to build on a lot of less than two acres, while denying his neighbor the right to build unless he put his house on a lot containing a minimum of two acres. The ordinance lacked uniformity, as required under Va. Code Ann. § 15-845, and the ordinance was unreasonable and arbitrary and bore no relation to the health, safety, morals, or general welfare of the owners or residents of the area.