Friday, November 29, 2013

Stone v. City of Wilton case brief

Stone v. City of Wilton case brief summary
331 N.W.2d 398 (Iowa 1983)

Plaintiff landowners appealed from the decision of the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, which dismissed their petition for declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, and damages in an action concerning defendant city's rezoning of certain real estate from multi-family to single-family residential.

The landowners purchased property for the purpose of building a low income, federally subsidized housing project. Three-quarters of the land they purchased was zoned for multi-family residential, and the remainder was zoned for single-family residential. Prior to the commencement of their project, the city rezoned the land to be only single-family residential, and the landowners brought an action against the city.

The lower court dismissed the landowners' petition, and the court affirmed.


  • The court found that the zoning ordinance in question was passed as a general welfare measure and concluded that it could not conclude that the city council's stated reasons for the rezoning were mere pretext, where the reasons were recognized as valid reasons for rezoning. 
  • The court determined that discriminatory purpose was not a motivating factor in the council's decision to rezone. 
  • The court held that the landowners did not have such a vested interest in the completion of the housing project on the particular tract of land because the rezoning only deprived the landowners of what they considered to be the land's most beneficial use.
The court affirmed the dismissal of the landowners' petition for declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, and damages in their action concerning the city's rezoning of their land.

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