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Agins v. Tiburon, City of

ELR Citation: 9 ELR 20260
Nos. No. S.F. 23866, 598 P.2d 25/24 Cal. 3d 266, (Cal., 03/14/1979)

In a suit for compensatory and declaratory relief, the California Supreme Court holds that an owner of property that is reduced in value through enactment of a restrictive zoning ordinance may not, in an action for inverse condemnation, obtain damages from the municipality. Rather, the relief available is limited to administrative mandamus or a declaratory judgment that the ordinance is invalid. Were municipalities subject to such financial liability for excessive zoning measures, the effect would be to impose an undue restraint on the necessary governmental function of land use control and would interfere with municipal budgetary prerogatives. As to the question whether declaratory relief should be awarded in this case, the court finds that it should not. The zoning ordinance in question merely limits residential density to between two-tenths and one unit per acre. This restriction on the use of appellants' property is not so severe that it amounts to a "taking." Therefore, the trial court properly found that appellants are entitled to neither compensatory nor declaratory relief. A dissent views the record to show that appellants' property has been rendered utterly valueless by the ordinance, and would direct that compensatory damages be awarded.

Counsel for the Appellants
Reginald Hearn
100 California St., San Francisco CA 94111
(415) 982-1914

Counsel for Respondents
Robert Kahn, Deputy City Attorney; Gary Ragghianti
1534 Fifth St., San Rafael CA 94901
(415) 453-9433

Counsel for Amicus Curiae California Coastal Comm'n
R.C. Jacobs, Ass't Attorney General
6th Fl., State Bldg., 455 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco CA 94102
(415) 557-1346

Counsel for Amicus Curiae Pacific Legal Foundation
Thomas Hookand
Suite 465, 455 Capitol Mall, Sacramento CA 95814
(916) 444-0154