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American Sav. & Loan Ass'n v. Marin, County of

Citation: 11 ELR 20232
No. No. 77-3703, (9th Cir., 06/13/1980)

Reversing the district court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rules that where a county zoning ordinance adopts two different zoning designations for contiguous pieces of realty, that property must be deemed divided into two separate parcels for purposes of determining whether the zoning actions constitute a taking of private property. Appellant had purchased two separate but contiguous parcels of property in Marin County, California. The city-county planning council subsequently zoned one parcel of appellant's property for low density housing and the other parcel for substantially higher density housing. Appellant filed suit in district court seeking to enjoin enforcement of the ordinance or to recover damages for inverse condemnation. The lower court ruled that for taking purposes the property was considered a single parcel, and since the ordinance merely lowered the value of one section of the entire piece of property, there was no unlawful taking requiring compensation. The appellate court rules that when a zoning ordinance isolates a parcel in a unique zone, the propriety of that action must be judged by its effect on that particular parcel. Since the ordinance applied more stringent protections to only one section of the entire piece of property because of potential environmental harm to that area if overdeveloped, the property is to be treated as two distinct parcels for zoning purposes. The court therefore remands the case to determine whether a reasonable beneficial use remains for the more strictly zoned parcel in order to ascertain whether there has in fact been a taking requiring just compensation.

Counsel for Appellant
Edmund L. Regalia, M. Janice Smith
Miller, Starr & Regalia
1 Kaiser Plaza, Oakland CA 94612
(415) 465-3800

Counsel for Appellees
Douglas J. Maloney, Cty. Counsel
Suite 342, Civic Center, San Rafael CA 94903
(415) 479-1100

Before MERRILL, SKOPIL and ALARCON, Circuit Judges.