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Village of Valatie v. Smith

Law Dictionary

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Property Law Keyed to Cribbet

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 22 Ill.83 N.Y.2d 396, 610 N.Y.S.2d 941, 632 N.E.2d 1264 (1994)

Brief Fact Summary. Smith (Defendant) inherited a nonconforming mobile home in 1989 from her father. The Village of Valatie (Plaintiff) sued Defendant to enforce a 1968 law to have the mobile home removed.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. An amortization period is presumed valid and the burden is on the challenging owner to overcome the presumption by showing that the loss suffered is so substantial that it outweighs the public benefit to be gained by the exercise of the police power.

Facts. The Plaintiff sought to enforce a law under which mobile homes were to be restricted to mobile home parks as of 1968, but that any mobile homes which were not in mobile home parks at that time were allowed to continue being used until the land or the mobile home was sold or transferred. When both parties moved for summary judgment in the trial court, the court granted the Defendant’s motion and denied the Plaintiff’s motion, reasoning that the right to continue a nonconforming use was a right, which ran with the land. The trial court held that the portion of the ordinance which set the termination of nonconforming use at the time of transfer to be unconstitutional. The intermediate appellate court affirmed the trial court, and acknowledged that while a municipality had the authority to phase out nonconforming uses with an “amortization period,” the particular law in question was unreasonable and unconstitutional because the period of time bears no relationship to the use of la
nd or the investment in that use. The Plaintiff appealed.

Issue. Was the 1968 ordinance unreasonable in that it established an amortization period, which terminated upon transfer of ownership of the nonconforming use?

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