The Supreme Court, in a landmark decision, established the constitutionality of zoning ordinances by concluding they were a legitimate form of police power.
When comprehensive zoning ordinances began to be adopted in the first two decades of the twentieth century, many legal scholars and courts doubted their constitutionality on a number of grounds. Ambler Realty owned a large tract of land it was holding for industrial development, but it found the value of its property significantly reduced as the result of the city of Euclid’s decision to adopt a zoning ordinance. Ambler sued on multiple grounds including the takings clause, due process, and equal protection. The lower court ruled that Ambler had suffered a taking without just compensation, but the Supreme Court reversed its decision, upholding Euclid’s zoning law and by analogy most other zoning laws. Although criticism of many zoning laws continues, the Court does not appear ready to change its decision. Justice George Sutherland