Sunday, November 17, 2013

People v. Bray case brief

People v. Bray case brief summary
32 Cal. App. 3D 494 (1975)

Appellant property owners challenged the adverse judgment of the Superior Court of Santa Clara County (California) that concluded that a municipal zoning ordinance that permitted non-profit recreational facilities but not for-profit facilities was not an unconstitutional deprivation of property without due process and that a comprehensive plan that eliminated all commercial uses of property did not constitute an equal protection violation.

Following a consolidated trial cases litigating zoning issues, the trial court issued a judgment concluding that the zoning ordinance at issue, which prohibited the operation of profit-making recreational facilities while permitting non-profit recreational facilities, did not constitute a deprivation of property without due process of law and that the comprehensive zoning plan, which eliminated the commercial use of property within city limits, did not violate equal protection rights. Appellant property owners sought review.

  • In affirming, the appellate court concluded that the zoning ordinance properly distinguished between business and non-profit uses, and its purpose was not for revenue but to provide for the public health, safety, morals, and welfare of the community. 
  • There was a rational distinction between the attributes of the commercial and non-commercial recreational uses as well was the burdens each imposed upon the municipality and the residents residing within city litigation. 
  • Further, the zoning plan, although it eliminated all commercial use of property, was reasonable in object and not arbitrary. It was thus a justifiable exercise of police power.

The trial court judgment deeming the zoning ordinance and comprehensive plan to be valid was affirmed, as a rational basis grounded in the community's welfare existed for the distinction drawn between the non-profit and for-profit uses of property and as the comprehensive plan's elimination of commercial uses of property was a justifiable exercise of police power where it was reasonable and not arbitrary.

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