Village of Euclid, Ohio, v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365; 47 S. Ct. 114; 71 L. Ed. 303 (1926)

Village of Euclid, Ohio, v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365; 47 S. Ct. 114; 71 L. Ed. 303 (1926)

Facts—Appellee owned land within Euclid, Ohio. The village of Euclid passed a zoning law restricting the use of land to residential purposes. The Ambler Realty Company was holding it for industrial use because of its location and the resultant much higher value of the land than if used for residential lots.

Question—Did the zoning ordinance take the company’s property without due process of law contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment?


ReasonsJ. Sutherland (6–3). The zoning ordinance is a valid exercise of the state’s police power under which the state has the authority to abate a nuisance. Actually a nuisance may be merely a right thing in a wrong place. Noise, traffic, fire hazards, and the general desirability of an area for “residential” purposes, including the rearing of children, certainly come under the power of the state and its agencies to care for the public safety, health, morals, and general welfare. Concern for the common good may properly override an individual’s property rights.

The dissenting justices did not author an opinion in this case.

NoteAmbler is often remembered for Sutherland’s sassy remark: “A nuisance may merely be a right thing in the wrong place, like a pig in the parlor instead of the barnyard.” In City of Renton v. Playtime Theatres, 475 U.S. 41 (1986) the Court upheld a zoning law prohibiting an adult movie house from locating within 1,000 feet of a park, school, or residential home.

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