Justia Zoning, Planning & Land Use Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment upholding the constitutionality of an Arkansas zoning law that prevents adult-oriented businesses from opening within 1,000 feet of schools and other places frequented by children. The court held that Adam and Eve, an adult toy superstore, has not engaged in speech and therefore cannot state a claim under the First Amendment. In this case, Adam and Eve disavowed any express conduct; cited no authority that selling sexually-oriented devices was speech; and expressly and repeatedly rejected that it was an adult-oriented business similar to those found in prior precedent, each of which engaged in protected speech. The court also held that the zoning law was not unconstitutionally vague and does not violate equal protection. The court held that a plaintiff whose conduct is clearly proscribed cannot raise a successful vagueness claim under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment for lack of notice, and a substantial portion of Adam and Eve's business involves selling items the statute reaches. Finally, Adam and Eve failed to show that the Act treated it differently than similarly situated entities or lacked a rational basis. View "Adam and Eve Jonesboro, LLC v. Perrin" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of plaintiff's motion to preliminarily enjoin enforcement of Bel-Nor's Ordinance 983, which restricts the number of signs displayed on private property. The court held that Ordinance 983 is a content based restriction that is not narrowly-tailored to achieve the compelling government interests of government safety and aesthetics. The court held that the ordinance is also facially overbroad; plaintiff was likely to succeed on his First Amendment claim; and the district court erred in denying the motion for a preliminary injunction. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Willson v. City of Bel-Nor" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the City in an action alleging that the City discriminated against plaintiff based on her race when it denied her applications for rezoning to open a beauty salon in a residential neighborhood. The court held that plaintiff's race discrimination claim under the Equal Protection Clause failed because plaintiff failed to produce evidence that the City's decision constituted racial discrimination and the City's interest in preserving the neighborhood's residential character from increased commercialization was supported by the record. In a class-of-one challenge to local zoning decisions, courts are not entitled to review the evidence and reverse the commission merely because a contrary result may be permissible. Instead, the court is authorized only to ascertain whether there has been a transgression upon the property owner's constitutional rights. In this case, the court held that plaintiff's class-of-one discrimination claim failed to meet this standard where she failed to identify how any purported comparators were similarly situated in all material respects. View "Mensie v. City of Little Rock" on Justia Law