467 F.2d 1208 (8th Cir. 1972), 72-1006, Park View Heights Corp. v. City of Black Jack

Docket Nº72-1006.
Citation467 F.2d 1208
Party NamePARK VIEW HEIGHTS CORPORATION et al., Appellants, v. The CITY OF BLACK JACK et al., Appellees.
Case DateSeptember 25, 1972
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Page 1208

467 F.2d 1208 (8th Cir. 1972)

PARK VIEW HEIGHTS CORPORATION et al., Appellants,

v.

The CITY OF BLACK JACK et al., Appellees.

No. 72-1006.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

Sept. 25, 1972

Submitted June 13, 1972.

Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc Denied Oct. 26, 1972.

Page 1209

Lawrence G. Sager, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, New York City, for appellants.

Roy W. Bergmann, and Sheldon K. Stock, Clayton, Mo., for appellees.

Before MURRAH [*] and VAN OOSTERHOUT, Senior Circuit Judges, and HEANEY, Circuit Judge.

HEANEY, Circuit Judge.

This appeal questions the propriety of a District Court order, 335 F.Supp. 899,

Page 1210

dismissing the plaintiffs' complaint for lack of standing and absence of a justiciable controversy.

The underlying question is the validity of a zoning ordinance which effectively prohibits the construction of multiracial, federally subsidized, moderate and low income housing in the City of Black Jack, Missouri. 1 The immediate questions are whether the sponsor and the developer of the housing development have standing to litigate the underlying question, and whether there is an actual controversy ripe for adjudication.

The plaintiffs are two nonprofit corporations, Inter-Religious Center for Urban Affairs, Inc., and Park View Heights Corporation, and eight individual plaintiffs suing as a class. 2 The defendants are the City of Black Jack, Missouri, its Mayor, the Chairman of its Zoning Commission, the members of its City Council and the members of its Zoning Commission.

For the purposes of this appeal, we accept the following pleaded facts as true:

In December 1969, St. Mark's United Methodist Church and United Methodist Metro Ministry decided to sponsor a housing development (known as Park View Heights) under § 236 of the National Housing Act, 12 U.S.C. § 1715z-1 (1968). St. Mark's, located in north St. Louis County and near the site of the proposed Park View Heights apartments, has a congregation of 1,200 members. Metro Ministry is the operational arm of the Missouri East Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. St. Mark's and Metro Ministry decided to develop apartments available for persons of all races and within the economic reach of moderate and low income persons with a location in St. Louis County to provide a better economic, educational and recreational environment for the tenants.

On December 24, 1969, ICUA, a Missouri nonprofit corporation, organized for the purpose of the effective use of the religious community's resources in alleviating St. Louis urban problems, signed a sales contract to buy 11.9 acres of land in an unincorporated area of St. Louis County (now located within the city limits of Black Jack) for $238,000, or $20,000 an acre. ICUA had been active with St. Mark's and Metro Ministry in the planning of the Park View Heights apartments and had advanced those organizations "seed money" financing. There is no indication in the record that this loan has been repaid.

On March 16, 1970, St. Mark's and Metro Ministry submitted an initial application to build the apartments to the federal government. Shortly thereafter, area residents began active opposition to the proposed location of the apartments. Led by the Black Jack Improvement Association and the Spanish Lake Improvement Association, residents held mass meetings, began a letter-writing campaign to federal administrative and elected officials, published circulars, and dispatched a delegation to present the Undersecretary of Housing and Urban Development with petitions and arguments against the apartments' location in the neighborhood.

Page 1211

On June 5, 1970, the Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a "feasibility letter," which reserved federal funds for the apartments. The letter is "tantamount to a contractual obligation to assist a project." Architectural plans have been completed and approved. A mortgage has been secured, and legal and organizational planning has been completed.

Upon learning of the "feasibility letter," area residents began a drive to incorporate the area including the site of the proposed Park View Heights apartments. On June 26, 1970, the Citizens for the Incorporation of Black Jack presented two petitions requesting incorporation with 1,425 signatures to the St. Louis County Council. Between June 26, 1970, and August 6, 1970, the St. Louis County Department of Planning reported to the St. Louis County Council that they "strongly opposed the act of incorporation on fiscal, planning, and legal grounds." Despite this opposition, the St. Louis County Council incorporated the City of Black Jack, Missouri, on August 6, 1970.

On August 13, 1970, Park View Heights Corporation was formed by St. Mark's, Metro Ministry, and Bishop Eugene M. Frank, the Office of the Missouri Bishop of the United Methodist Church, since July 1970, a joint sponsor of the Park View apartments. On September 8, 1970, Park View Heights Corporation assumed title to the proposed site as an assignee of ICUA.

Between the date of the municipal incorporation and September 15, 1970, the municipal authority of the City of Black Jack was suspended by a Writ of Prohibition issued by a state court. Within six days after the writ was dissolved, the city Zoning Commission issued notices of hearings on a zoning ordinance which would effectively prevent the construction of new multi-family dwelling units within the City of Black Jack. On October 20, 1970, the City Council passed the proposed zoning ordinance.

The present action was instituted in January, 1971.

The defendants moved to dismiss as to all parties, claiming that the plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the action, and that the controversy was not a justiciable one.

The court stated:

"* * * [T]he plaintiffs' claims fall into two categories: First, that the zoning ordinance of the City of Black Jack arbitrarily and irrationally excludes provisions for the erection of multi-family dwellings within the city, resulting in a drastic devaluation of the proposed site of the Park View Heights development in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments; and second, that the purpose and effect of the zoning ordinance is to prohibit moderate and lower income persons, including members of the Negro race who do not even reside in St. Louis County, from moving into Black Jack in violation of their right to travel, the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the supremacy clause, the Thirteenth Amendment, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (42 USC §§ 1981 and 1982), the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 USC § 2000d), the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (42 USC § 3601, et seq.), and the National Housing Act (42 USC § 1401, et seq.)."

The court went on to hold that:

(1) Park View held exclusive title to the land, thus it alone had standing to question whether the zoning ordinance was arbitrary and irrational and resulted in a taking of property without due process. Neither ICUA nor the individual plaintiffs had standing to raise this issue-ICUA because it had assigned its option to Park View and the individual plaintiffs because they were not personally harmed by the rezoning of the property.

(2) Neither Park View nor ICUA had standing to question whether the purpose and effect of the ordinance was to exclude low and moderate income persons, including Negroes, from the City of Black Jack because neither was a person allegedly excluded from living in

Page 1212

Black Jack, neither alleged a violation of its constitutional rights, and neither's membership qualified it as a proper representative of lower or moderate income persons.

(3) No case or controversy exists as between the individual plaintiffs and the defendants as no building permit has been denied and no request for a zoning change or a variance has been made.

On the basis of the above reasoning, the court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss as to ICUA and the individual plaintiffs. It also granted the motion to dismiss as to Park View except insofar as Park View alleged that its property had been taken without due process.

(1) We believe that the trial court erred in holding that ICUA was without standing to press the due process claim. The complaint alleged that ICUA advanced substantial "seed money" financing, and nothing in the pleadings indicates that this advance has been repaid by Park View in whole or in part. 3 Furthermore, ICUA has expended time and energy in planning and developing the project, and there is no indication in the pleadings that it has been reimbursed for its services. Either the continued existence of the loan from ICUA or the already expended developmental time and effort constitutes "'a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy"' 4 sufficient to grant ICUA standing to litigate the due process claim.

(2) We believe that both ICUA and Park View have standing to question whether the purpose and effect of the ordinance is to exclude low and moderate income individuals from the City of Black Jack in violation of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

First, they have this right by virtue of their own economic interest in the project. It is as important to protect the right of sponsors and developers to be free from unconstitutional interferences in planning, developing, and building an integrated housing project, as it is to protect the rights of potential tenants of such projects.

Page 1213

Surely, such an economic interest satisfies the tests for standing to litigate constitutional violations, recently announced again in Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727, 92 S.Ct. 1361, 31 L.Ed.2d 636 (1972). This economic interest gives both plaintiff corporations "a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy." Sierra Club v. Morton, supra at 732, 92 S.Ct. at 1364, quoting Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 204, 82 S.Ct. 691, 7...

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  • 633 F.2d 384 (4th Cir. 1980), 79-1199, Coles v. Havens Realty Corp.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
    • September 18, 1980
    ...Housing Development Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 97 S.Ct. 555, 50 L.Ed.2d 450 (1977). See also Park View Heights Corp. v. City of Black Jack, 467 F.2d 1208 (8th Cir. 1972); Heights Community Congress v. Rosenblatt Realty, Inc., 73 F.R.D. 1 (N.D.Ohio 1975). In Arlington Heights the Court said: MHDC ......
  • 21 F.3d 1531 (11th Cir. 1994), 92-2991, Jackson v. Okaloosa County, Fla.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
    • June 8, 1994
    ...remedies, where an imminent injury exists. Town of Huntington, 689 F.2d at 393-94, n. 3; Park View Heights Corp. v. City of Black Jack, 467 F.2d 1208, 1214-16 (8th Cir.1972). The Town of Huntington court held that the plaintiffs, who sought to overturn a zoning ordinance that prevented the ......
  • 508 F.2d 1179 (8th Cir. 1974), 74-1345, United States v. City of Black Jack, Missouri
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
    • December 27, 1974
    ...which was accompanied by a reservation of federal funds for the development. As stated in Park View Heights Corp. v. City of Black Jack, 467 F.2d 1208, 1211 (8th Cir.1972): Upon learning of the 'feasibility letter,' area residents began a drive to incorporate the area including the site of ......
  • 77 Cal.App.3d 82, 39724, Mountain View Chamber of Commerce v. City of Mountain View
    • United States
    • California California Court of Appeals
    • January 25, 1978
    ...project would be to require them to pump oil from a dry hole. (Cf. Park View Heights Corporation v. City of Black Jack (8th Cir. 1972) 467 F.2d 1208; G & D Holland Construction Co. v. City of Marysville, 12 Cal.App.3d 989, 91 Cal.Rptr. 227. . . .)" (Id., at p. 834, 112 Cal.Rptr. at......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
73 cases
  • 633 F.2d 384 (4th Cir. 1980), 79-1199, Coles v. Havens Realty Corp.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
    • September 18, 1980
    ...Housing Development Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 97 S.Ct. 555, 50 L.Ed.2d 450 (1977). See also Park View Heights Corp. v. City of Black Jack, 467 F.2d 1208 (8th Cir. 1972); Heights Community Congress v. Rosenblatt Realty, Inc., 73 F.R.D. 1 (N.D.Ohio 1975). In Arlington Heights the Court said: MHDC ......
  • 21 F.3d 1531 (11th Cir. 1994), 92-2991, Jackson v. Okaloosa County, Fla.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
    • June 8, 1994
    ...remedies, where an imminent injury exists. Town of Huntington, 689 F.2d at 393-94, n. 3; Park View Heights Corp. v. City of Black Jack, 467 F.2d 1208, 1214-16 (8th Cir.1972). The Town of Huntington court held that the plaintiffs, who sought to overturn a zoning ordinance that prevented the ......
  • 508 F.2d 1179 (8th Cir. 1974), 74-1345, United States v. City of Black Jack, Missouri
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
    • December 27, 1974
    ...which was accompanied by a reservation of federal funds for the development. As stated in Park View Heights Corp. v. City of Black Jack, 467 F.2d 1208, 1211 (8th Cir.1972): Upon learning of the 'feasibility letter,' area residents began a drive to incorporate the area including the site of ......
  • 77 Cal.App.3d 82, 39724, Mountain View Chamber of Commerce v. City of Mountain View
    • United States
    • California California Court of Appeals
    • January 25, 1978
    ...project would be to require them to pump oil from a dry hole. (Cf. Park View Heights Corporation v. City of Black Jack (8th Cir. 1972) 467 F.2d 1208; G & D Holland Construction Co. v. City of Marysville, 12 Cal.App.3d 989, 91 Cal.Rptr. 227. . . .)" (Id., at p. 834, 112 Cal.Rptr. at......
  • Request a trial to view additional results