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City of Eastlake v. Forest City Enterprises, Inc.

United States Supreme Court
426 U.S. 668 (1976)


Facts

In order to change a land use under the zoning laws of the City of Eastlake (defendant), the change must first pass in the city council, and then must be passed by the voters of Eastlake by a majority of 55 percent in a referendum. Forest City Enterprises, Inc. (plaintiff) attempted to change a plot of land zoned for light industrial use, to one suitable for multi-family housing. When the change passed the city council, Forest City Enterprises, Inc. attempted to change the land use for an adjacent plot of land so as to permit construction of a parking lot. The city council denied the request because the first request had not yet been passed by the city voters in a referendum. Once put up to a vote, it failed. Forest City Enterprises, Inc. brought suit against Eastlake, claiming that the referendum was an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority. Both the Court of Common Pleas and the Ohio Court of Appeals upheld Eastlake’s ordinance. The Ohio Supreme Court reversed. Eastlake then petitioned for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.

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Holding and Reasoning (Burger, C.J.)

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Dissent (Stevens, J.)

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