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Associated Home Builders of the Greater Eastbay, Inc. v. City of Livermore

    Brief Fact Summary.

    The City of Livermore enacted a municipal ordinance to promote the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens. The Associated Home Builders Associations of Greater Eastbay, Inc., Plaintiffs, brought suit to prevent the implementation of the ordinances on the grounds that the ordinance is unconstitutional.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    If a municipal land use ordinance is reasonably related to the public welfare, then the ordinance is a valid exercise of the police powers.

    Facts.

    Defendants, the City of Livermore, enacted a municipal land use ordinance that prohibited the issuance of new residential building permits until the sewage disposal, water supply, and local education facilities were in compliance with the specified standards. The purpose of the ordinance was to promote the safety, health, and welfare of the citizens in the City of Livermore. Plaintiffs, Associated Home Builders of the Greater Eastbay, Inc., filed suit to prevent the enforcement of the ordinance, and the superior court implemented a permanent injunction against the ordinance. Defendants appealed.  Plaintiffs asserted that the permanent injunction should be affirmed because the ordinance was an unconstitutional exercise of police powers, under the grounds that noncitizens had a right to migrate to Livermore, and the state did not have a compelling state interest in enforcing the ordinance. 

    Issue.

    Whether a municipal land use ordinance that is reasonably related to the public welfare constitutes a valid exercise of police powers. 

    Held.

    Yes, a municipal land use ordinance that is reasonably related to the public welfare constitutes a valid exercise of police powers. 

    Discussion.

    If a municipal land use ordinance is reasonably related to the public welfare, then the ordinance is a valid exercise of the police powers. When considering whether the ordinance is reasonably related to the public welfare, the court first asks whose welfare the ordinance is meant to serve. Second, the court identifies if there are any competing interest that are affected by the restriction. Lastly, the court evaluates whether the ordinance provides a reasonable accommodation to the restriction. Here, Defendant’s ordinance, on its face, does not prohibit migration, thus, not violating the Equal Protection Clause of the United States or California Constitution. Therefore, the court found that the ordinance’s restrictions are reasonably related to the public welfare, as Plaintiff has not presented any evidence to indicate the ordinance is not reasonably related to Defendant’s objectives.


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