Laurel Park Community v. City of Tumwater

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 10-29-2012
  • Case #: 11-35466
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Graber for the Court; Circuit Judges Noonan and Rawlinson
  • Full Text Opinion

A zoning ordinance limiting the uses of manufactured home parks that has a negligible effect on property values and provides owners with reasonable alternative uses does not constitute a taking, nor does it violate substantive due process.

The City of Tumwater, Washington, passed a zoning ordinance that protected manufactured (mobile) home owners by limiting the uses of manufactured home parks and requiring approval from the city council for a limited number of designated alternative uses. Three park owners brought suit in federal district court alleging federal and state takings claims and a state substantive due process claim. The district court granted summary judgment on all claims. The Ninth Circuit held that the zoning ordinance did not constitute a taking under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, because the regulations would only cause an estimated 15 percent loss of property value on one property, the investment-backed expectations of the owners were marginally affected, and although the government’s action weighed in favor of a taking, it was insufficient to overcome the deficiencies of the other two, more important, considerations. The Court held that no state taking had occurred because the zoning ordinance did not “destroy or limit any fundamental property right” under Washington law and the ordinance did not transfer property rights to the residents. Lastly, the Court rejected the plaintiffs’ spot zoning challenge under the substantive due process clause of the Washington Constitution, because the ordinance had the legitimate purpose of promoting affordable housing options, the zoning was reasonably related to that purpose, and the zoning was for the general welfare of the community. AFFIRMED.

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