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Green Ridge, City of v. Kreisel

Citation: 30 ELR 20529
No. No. WD56936, 25 S.W.3d 559/(Mo. Ct. App., 05/02/2000)

The court holds that a trial court incorrectly concluded that a city ordinance regulating junkyards was a zoning ordinance subject to notice-and-hearing requirements. A junkyard owner who had been cited for several violations of the ordinance claimed that the ordinance was inapplicable because it was a zoning ordinance subject to notice-and-hearing requirements. The court first holds that the ordinance at issue is not a zoning ordinance. Missouri state definitions of zoning ordinances comport with the generally recognized definition of a zoning ordinance as an ordinance that regulates the use of land and buildings according to districts, areas, or locations. The definition of zoning also includes the division of land into zones. The ordinance at issue does not regulate junkyards by district. It does not limit the operation of junkyards to a particular area of the city, nor does it limit how many junkyards may be located in any particular area or district. To the contrary, the ordinance regulates the activities of a junkyard irrespective of the location of the junkyard within the city and permits a junkyard to exist if it meets these requirements. The court then holds that although zoning ordinances may be used to promote public health and safety, the ordinance at issue is not a zoning ordinance. Where the purpose of an ordinance is primarily to regulate for health concerns rather than to provide for uniform development of real estate, then the ordinance will not be held to be a zoning ordinance, but rather an ordinance related to health and welfare. Here, the purpose of the ordinance is to regulate potential nuisances for reasons of public health and safety, not to zone or otherwise provide for the uniform development of real estate. Ordinance says on its face that its purpose is to prevent public nuisances because it states that junkyards operated in violation of its terms are declared to be public nuisances. The court then holds that the effect of the ordinance does not render it a zoning ordinance. The ordinance does not preclude the operation of junkyards, nor does it otherwise make a prior permitted land use improper. Nothing in the ordinance relates to what property may be used as a junkyard or as to the locations, or districts, in which junkyards are permitted. Further, the junkyard owner has identified nothing in the ordinance that could be so difficult to comply with that it would effectively preclude operation of a junkyard.

The full text of this decision is available from ELR (8 pp., ELR Order No. L-210).

Counsel for Appellant
R. Scott Gardner
Gardner, Gardner & Gardner
416 S. Ohio Ave., Sedalia MO 65301
(660) 827-0204

Counsel for Respondent
Andrew C. Webb
Law Offices of Andrew C. Webb
117 S. Ohio Ave., Sedalia MO 65301
(660) 827-3060