Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co.

272 U.S. 365, 47 S. Ct. 114 (1926)



Before a zoning ordinance can be declared unconstitutional, it must be said that its provisions are clearly arbitrary and unreasonable, having no substantial relation to the public health, safety, morals, or general welfare. 


Appellee is the owner of a tract of land containing 68 acres, situated in the westerly end of the village, abutting on Euclid Avenue to the south and the Nickel Plate railroad to the north. Adjoining this tract, both on the east and on the west, there have been laid out restricted residential plats upon which residences have been erected. 

On November 13, 1922, an ordinance was adopted by the Village Council, establishing a comprehensive zoning plan for regulating and restricting the location of trades,  industries, apartment houses, two-family houses, single family houses, etc., the lot area to be built upon, the size and height of buildings, etc.

The landowner asserted that because of the building restrictions imposed, the ordinance operated to reduce the normal value of his property, and to deprive him of liberty and property without due process of law. The municipal corporation and building inspector argued that the ordinance passed constitutional muster and should have been enforced. 


Did the zoning ordinance violate the constitutional protection of substantive due process?




The court held that the district court clearly had equitable jurisdiction over the matter and further held that the ordinance, in its general scope and dominant features, was a valid exercise of authority. The landowner's property had not suffered or been threatened with an injury that entitled him to challenge the constitutionality of the ordinance. The restrictions imposed bore a rational relation to the health and safety of the community.

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