Real Estate Agent with Perry Wellington Realty



Arose out of the weakness of nuisance and the development of restrictive covenants

Can’t do nuisance preemptively

Need to pay court and lawyer fees for a nuisance case

Courts require something significantly obnoxious for it to be a nuisance

Restrictive covenants only work for new communities

There is usually a board that hears applications for an exception

You can appeal these decisions directly in court


Must be an enabling statute and a general plan


Village of Euclid v. Amber Realty Corp. p. 969

Zoning causes the vacant land to drop by 3/4ths in price

City argues that it did this for the good of the whole community – did not single you out

Court accepts that argument and approves the zoning in this case


Grandfather exceptions

Zoning for areas that already involve an operating business have grandfather clauses

Any use that existed at the date of ordinance could carry on

Plan was to phase out businesses – can still sell it as long as it is the same business

New approach is to have a set number of years (20yrs until it expires)



If the zoning creates a real hardship then you can get a variance – right not to comply


Exception or special exception

Some uses in a particular district can occur but only if the board determines it is consistent with the building plan and neighborhood


Commons v. Westwood Zoning Board p. 985

Variance case

The lot does not have enough frontage or square footage but is unusable for anything else

Board denies the application as there is no hardship

Better solution is to threaten the variance until the neighbors buy it at market price


Cape v. Inhabitants of the Town of Brunswick p. 994

Special exception case

Court says that this is a use that is generally allowed in this area so you need some reason to deny it

Reasoning may be to avoid political or other favoring but the court says you need more


State v. City of Rochester p. 999

Rather than get an exception they go to board and amend the zoning statute

There is a rational basis so the court upholds it – no evidence of spot zoning


Generally courts are unsympathetic to zoning concerns

They often do not intervene as long as the city acts reasonably


Village of Belle Terre v. Boraas p. 1044

Zoning ordinance restricts it to families of one or more related people or two unrelated persons

Court upholds the citation of 6 college students living together

More noise, more people, more cars, etc.


Moore v. City of East Cleveland p. 1052

Zoning ordinance allows families but no more than 1 set of grandchildren

Grandmother had one child from each of two children and the city fined her and sent her to jail

SC overturned the zoning ordinance as unconstitutional


Planned Unit Developments – PUDs

Higher density developments with close commercial facilities

Requires much more forceful zoning than classic Euclidean zoning


Comments (1)

Brian Bender
Perry Wellington Realty - Altoona, PA
Your 24 Hour Realtor
every piece of reale state deal with zoning law!!
Feb 04, 2008 01:55 AM