Zoning as a Tool of Public Policy

Topics: Zoning, Village of Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co., Land use Pages: 3 (705 words) Published: May 6, 2013
Post 4 – Unit 6

Zoning is a tool of public policy which restricts the way that people manage and modify its natural or built environment. This regulation of land use attempts to satisfy the needs of the community while supporting its economy, protecting its natural resources, and providing an effective distribution of services throughout the city. The practice began as a way to deal with the rapid industrialization and urbanization in the US during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Families began to seek a separation between their home and the smoke and congestion of cities and its big factories.

The first legal implementation of zoning law came after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Village of Euclid, Ohio, who was accused of limiting the value of a piece of land property of Ambler Realty Co. This property was divided into three use classes, as well as various height and area classes, thereby hindering Ambler Realty from developing the land for industry. The Court found that Ambler had failed to prove that the land would lose value, and agreed that municipal zoning regulations where constitutional (1).

However, not all zoning rules deal only with property values. In fact, one the primary purposes of zoning laws is to protect people from various hazards. For instance, the City of San Francisco passed an ordinance restricting the use of wooden buildings for laundry facilities in 1880. These establishments were required to obtain a permit from the Board of Supervisors because they represented a fire hazard. Although this ordinance had the people’s best interest, its implementation made a negative impact on the Chinese population of this area, who owned about 95% of the city’s laundries. Other zoning ordinances regulated height, limited growth of certain industries, and became the means for growth management.

Segregating land uses that are thought to be incompatible or possibly harmful to the community, has the potential of balancing...

Cited: (1)"Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co. - 272 U.S. 365 (1926)." Justia US Supreme Court Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2013.
Reply to another student’s post:
Author: Cassidy Welch
One of the greatest possible inventions in Antiquity planning has to be the developed use of the grid as a format for planning. The use of grids in planning not only allows for easier and more efficient city design, it also allows for an increase of flow, protection against enemies, and a better use of elements in a beneficial way. Many modern cities are still developed on the grid system while I believe that the use of grids by ancient civilizations was perhaps one of the greatest ideas in planning, it can also have its negative effects. A city developed on the grid essentially creates block segments of the city. While this can be good as it can create clearly defined divisions between districts, this can also be viewed as a negative aspect as it can divide cities by class and ultimately create "areas" of town associated with the rich and poor.
Reply: It is important to point out that one of the unfortunate drawbacks from generations of American wealth (compared to average living standards across the world), has been the creation of an inefficient suburban layout of winding streets and dead ends, which attempts to satisfy our individualistic society with an illusion of personal privacy. The grid system not only provides a better flow as you mentioned, but also makes better use of the urban space because it connects the city layout, providing more alternative routes of transportation, and making it easier to navigate. However, I disagree with your final statement. The suburban layout has more potential for creating socio-economic barriers within city districts than the grid system. Developers divide these large parcels of land into similar or equal lots, and built the houses with homogenous characteristics. This results in isolated communities of people of distinct income level and demographics.
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