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Karches v. City of Cincinnati

Supreme Court of Ohio
526 N.E.2d 1350 (1988)


Karches and Flerlage (plaintiffs) both own riverfront properties located in the floodplains of Cincinnati. Karches acquired a lease to his property in 1957 and purchased it in 1965. At the time of acquisition, the property was zoned Business “B,” which allowed for commercial use. Flerlage purchased his property in 1958. At the time, Flerlage’s property was also zoned Business “B.” In 1963, the City of Cincinnati’s (City’s) planning commission changed the classification of the plaintiffs’ properties to RF-1 Riverfront. In 1977, Karches petitioned to change the zoning to RF-2, in the hopes of operating an aggregate storage terminal on his property. The City denied the request. In the early 1970s, Flerlage unsuccessfully attempted to operate a basin marina on his land. Flerlage thereafter began discussing possible zoning changes with the City without success. In 1980, the plaintiffs brought suit alleging the RF-1 zoning classification constituted an unconstitutional taking of their land. The City had previously conducted studies on the development of the riverfront area, seeking to promote economic development. The City indicated that the plaintiffs’ problems would be resolved once the City amended the RF-1 ordinance in 1983 pursuant to the results of the studies. In response, the plaintiffs dropped their suit. However, the 1983 revisions were unsatisfactory to the plaintiffs, and they once again filed suit, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The trial court found that the RF-1 zoning, as amended, was unreasonable, arbitrary and confiscatory; that it was not substantially related to the public health, safety, or general welfare; and that it substantially interfered with the plaintiffs’ use of their properties. The trial court therefore held the RF-1 zoning to be unconstitutional and ordered the City to rezone the property. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the constitutional issue was not ripe for judicial determination.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Brown, J.)

Dissent (Holmes, J.)

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