Tuesday, December 31, 2013

State ex rel. Stoyanoff v. Berkeley

State ex rel. Stoyanoff v. Berkeley case brief summary
458 S.W.2d 305 (1970)

The applicants (P) filed an action against the building commissioner (D).
The P's contended that certain building permit ordinances in the city were unconstitutional.
On a summary judgment motion, a Missouri circuit court issued a peremptory writ of mandamus to compel the commissioner to issue a residential building permit to the applicants.
The commissioner appealed.

The applicants applied for and were refused a building permit.
They wanted to build a residence.
The permit was not approved by a city architectural board which was set up to assure that plans for city buildings conformed to minimum standards of appearance.

The trial court found that the ordinances setting up the board violated the Missiouri Constitution (article I, §10).  The violation existed as restrictions that were placed on the use of property deprived the property owners without due process of law.

  • The court held that in the matter of enacting zoning ordinances and the procedures for determining whether any certain proposed structure or use was in compliance with or offended the basic ordinance, the court would not substitute its judgment for the city's legislative body if the result was not oppressive, arbitrary, or unreasonable and did not infringe upon a valid preexisting nonconforming use. 
  • The court held that the denial of a building permit for the applicants' highly modern looking residence in the traditional area did not appear to be arbitrary and unreasonable in light of when the basic purpose that was to be served was that of the general welfare of persons in the entire community.
The court reversed the ruling of the lower court.

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