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Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society

Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Appendix F
Appendix H
Appendix J




Appendix H. Protect the Public Health, Welfare, and Safety

Since early in this century, zoning has been the major local tool for regulating land use. Over the years zoning has evolved, and it continues to be at the heart of today's land-use issues. A simple definition of zoning is a locally enacted law that regulates and controls the use of private property. It divides the jurisdiction into districts, or zones, for different uses and determines which uses are allowed. I t regulates lot sizes, building heights, impacts on adjacent land uses, and other specifics.

The power to regulate land is delegated from the state to local governments. Three broad types of power are delegated to local governments -- taxation, eminent domain, and police power. "Zoning" is a police power.

Ohio played an important role in helping to establish zoning as a common local government tool. In 1915, Alfred Bettman, an attorney working in Cincinnati, was instrumental in drafting and lobbying for pioneer planning and zoning legislation. These innovative ideas, along with those from other states, helped lead to the Standard State Zoning Act published in the mid 1920s by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The act served as model zoning legislation for the states. In the 1920s, many states passed statutes enabling local units of government (townships, municipalities, and counties) to enact zoning ordinances.

The town of Euclid, Ohio passed a zoning ordinance that resulted in devaluation of 68 acres of land owned by Ambler Realty Company. The company sued the town, claiming that their land was taken in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reads "...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." The legality of zoning was determined in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case originating in Ohio. The Village of Euclid (Ohio) vs. Ambler Realty Company (272 U.S. 365 [1926]) was argued by Alfred Bettman. In 1926 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case, Village of Euclid, Ohio, v. the Ambler Realty Company, and found that zoning is constitutional, provided that it is designed to protect the public health, welfare, and safety. This ruling encouraged local governments to adopt zoning and broaden its scope. Now, more than 80 years later, state and federal courts continue to maintain the constitutionality of zoning. However, landowners continue to challenge the right of a local government to restrict their use of their property. Courts have extensively defined how and to what extent property can be regulated, and they continue to do so.

One definition of the purposes of zoning are to regulate land use, prevent land-use conflict, and allow growth to occur in a rational manner. More specifically, zoning aims to:

. Use land for its most suitable purpose.
. Protect or maintain property values.
. Promote public health and safety.
. Protect the environment.
. Manage traffic.
. Manage density.
. Encourage housing for a variety of lifestyles and economic levels.
. Manage aesthetics.
. Provide for more orderly development.
. Help attract business and industry.

This definition makes a distinction between health and safety and other purposes, under the Police Power, for zoning.

Judicial attitudes towards aesthetics have shifted rather dramatically during the past century from one of outright hostility to general recognition of aesthetics as a sole justification for use of the police power.

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2012 Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society