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State ex rel. Stoyanoff v. Berkeley

Supreme Court of Missouri
458 S.W.2d 305 (Mo. 1970)



The City of Ladue enacted ordinances that created an architectural board (board) to review and approve designs for buildings in the city prior to construction. The board was made up of architects and followed strict procedures, involving public hearings and notice, before approving or denying proposals. Stoyanoff owned land in the city and proposed to build a house. The house was of a more modern design than the other houses in the neighborhood, which were very traditional. Stoyanoff's plans complied with all city zoning regulations and ordinances. Nevertheless, the board denied the building permit. At Stoyanoff's request, the state (Stoyanoff) (plaintiff) brought an action against Berkeley (defendant), the building commissioner, claiming that the regulations constituted an arbitrary and capricious exercise of police power. Stoyanoff claimed that the regulations were unconstitutionally vague and gave no guidance to the board. Further, Stoyanoff argued that the property use restrictions caused an effective taking of property without due process of law, in violation of the Missouri State Constitution. At the trial, a developer testified that homes in the area were valued between $60,000 to $85,000, and construction of Stoyanoff's proposed home would have a substantial adverse impact on market values in the neighborhood. The trial court granted summary judgment to Stoyanoff and issued a peremptory writ of mandamus compelling Berkley to issue the building permit. Berkeley appealed to the Supreme Court of Missouri.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Pritchard, Commr.)

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