Sixth Circuit Notes Split Re Role of Federal Courts in Reviewing Substantive Due Process Arbitrary and Capricious Claims in the Zoning Context

[Note: this is a repost of a split that was previously posted in August under the wrong case name]

Per Turner v. City of Englewood, Slip Copy, 2006 WL 2329375 (6th Cir. Aug. 11, 2006):

We also find that the magistrate judge properly dismissed Plaintiff's substantive due process claim. Zoning ordinances, like the one at issue, "must find their justification in some aspect of the police power, asserted for the public welfare." Village of Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365, 387 (1926). "The segregation of industries, commercial pursuits, and dwellings to particular districts in a city, when exercised reasonably, may bear a rational relation to the health, morals, safety and general welfare of the community." Id. at 392. In substantive due process claims, like the present action, the "[p]laintiff claims that the zoning regulation is arbitrary and capricious in that it does not bear a substantial relation to the public health, safety, morals, or general welfare." Pearson v. City of Grand Blanc, 961 F.2d 1211, 1216 (6th Cir.1992). The federal circuits are divided on the role of federal courts in reviewing substantive due process arbitrary and capricious claims in the zoning context, and the Supreme Court has failed to provide a definitive standard of review, but the "Court has explicitly observed, however, that citizens have a substantive due process right not to be subjected to arbitrary or irrational zoning decisions." Id. at 1217. (citing Arlington Heights, 429 U.S. at 263); Richardson v. Township of Brady, 218 F.3d 508, 512 (6th Cir.2000).


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