City of Brookings v. Winker, No. 19499

CourtSupreme Court of South Dakota
Writing for the CourtSABERS
Citation1996 SD 129,554 N.W.2d 827
PartiesCITY OF BROOKINGS, Plaintiff and Appellee, v. Bradley WINKER, Defendant and Appellant. . Considered on Briefs
Decision Date10 September 1996
Docket NumberNo. 19499

Page 827

554 N.W.2d 827
1996 SD 129
CITY OF BROOKINGS, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
Bradley WINKER, Defendant and Appellant.
No. 19499.
Supreme Court of South Dakota.
Considered on Briefs Sept. 10, 1996.
Decided Oct. 30, 1996.

Steven J. Britzman of Denholm, Glover & Britzman, Brookings, for plaintiff and appellee.

Sean M. O'Brien, Brookings, for defendant and appellant.

SABERS, Justice.

¶1 Winker was convicted of violating a City of Brookings zoning ordinance which, by its definition of "family," limits to three the number of unrelated adults who may live together in one residential unit. Winker challenged the constitutionality of the ordinance under the equal protection and due process clauses of the South Dakota State Constitution. The circuit court upheld the constitutionality of the ordinance and we affirm.

FACTS

¶2 In November, 1994, Winker was the owner of a rental dwelling in Brookings. The dwelling was a duplex, with one residential unit in the basement and another on the main floor. The building is located within an "R-2" zone, which permits such two-family dwellings but limits the number of unrelated adults who may constitute a "family," and thus limits to three the number of unrelated adults who may live within each unit. An inspection of the property on November 8, 1994, revealed the presence of at least four unrelated adult college students residing on the main floor.

¶3 Brookings filed a complaint against Winker, charging him with allowing a rental dwelling unit to be occupied in violation of Section 50.02.195 of Ordinance No. 715. That section restricts to two the number of "families" that may reside in a single dwelling located in an R-2 zone; Winker challenged the constitutionality of the definition of "family" under the South Dakota State Constitution due process and equal protection clauses. The trial court found the ordinance constitutional and convicted Winker for the violation. Winker appeals.

Standard of Review

¶4 Questions of law such as statutory interpretation are reviewed by this court de novo. US West Communications, Inc. v. Public Utils. Comm'n of S.D., 505 N.W.2d 115, 122 (S.D.1993). It is well settled that a zoning law is afforded a presumption of constitutionality:

We must begin our analysis with the proposition that a zoning law is a legislative

Page 829

act representing a legislative determination and judgment, and like all legislative enactments a zoning law is presumed to be reasonable, valid and constitutional.

State Theatre Co. v. Smith, 276 N.W.2d 259, 263 (S.D.1979) (citations omitted). The presumption of validity extends to municipal zoning ordinances. City of Colton v. Corbly, 323 N.W.2d 138 (S.D.1982). The burden of overcoming this presumption is on the party challenging its legitimacy and he or she must show the ordinance is unreasonable and arbitrary. Id. at 139 (citing State Theatre, supra and Tillo v. City of Sioux Falls, 82 S.D. 411, 147 N.W.2d 128 (1966)). Something more than abstract considerations is needed to demonstrate arbitrariness. Id. (citing Tillo, supra ). The party assailing the ordinance must show facts supporting the claim the ordinance is arbitrary, capricious, and unconstitutional. Fortier v. City of Spearfish, 433 N.W.2d 228, 231 (S.D.1988). The circumstances and the locality must be taken into consideration in determining the validity of an ordinance. Tillo, 82 S.D. at 416, 147 N.W.2d at 130.

ISSUE

Whether the ordinance limiting the number of unrelated persons in a "family" violates the due process or the equal protection clauses of the South Dakota Constitution.

¶5 The Brookings ordinance restricts to two the number of "families" that may reside in a dwelling located in an R-2 zone. At issue is the definition of "family" as provided in the ordinance:

An individual or two or more persons related by blood or law occupying a dwelling unit and living as a single household entity or two or more persons related by blood or law occupying a dwelling unit and living as a single household entity together with the number of unrelated adults so that the family contains no more than three adults who are unrelated by blood or law or not more than three unrelated adults occupying a dwelling unit and living as a single household entity. In addition to the persons actually related by blood or law, the following persons shall be considered related by blood or law for purposes of this ordinance:

(a) persons residing with the family for the purpose of adoption;

(b) not more than six persons under 18 years of age residing in a foster home licensed or approved by a governmental agency;

(c) not more than four persons 19 years of age or older residing with the family for the purpose of receiving foster care which is licensed or approved by a governmental agency;

(d) persons living with a family at the direction of a court.

Brookings, SD, Rev. Ordinances § 50.02.195 (1994).

¶6 Brookings claims the objective behind this definition of "family" in the ordinance is to limit the density of population. The enactment of a zoning ordinance is a valid function of municipal government and Brookings is specifically authorized to regulate population density:

For the purpose of promoting health, safety, morals, or the general welfare of the community the governing body of any municipality is hereby empowered to regulate and restrict ... the density of population ... [and the] use of buildings, structures, and land for ... residence ... purposes.

SDCL 11-4-1 (emphasis added). See also SDCL 9-29-1 ("Every municipality shall have power to exercise jurisdiction for all authorized purposes...."); City of Edmonds v. Oxford House, Inc., 514 U.S. 725, ----, 115 S.Ct. 1776, 1781, 131 L.Ed.2d 801, 810 (1995) ("To limit land use to single-family residences, a municipality must define the term 'family'; thus family composition rules are an essential component of single-family residential use restrictions.").

¶7 Winker does not challenge the purpose of the ordinance; instead, he claims there is no rational relationship between the classification created by the definition of "family" and the object of controlling density of population. As indicated, he invokes the equal protection and due process clauses of the South Dakota...

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  • Schwartz v. Phila. Zoning Bd. of Adjustment. Sheldon Schwartz & Kenneth L. Baritz
    • United States
    • Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
    • September 24, 2015
    ...499, 719 S.E.2d 660 (2011) (accord); State v. Champoux, 252 Neb. 769, 776, 566 N.W.2d 763 (1997) (accord); City of Brookings v. Winker, 554 N.W.2d 827, 831–832 (S.D.1996) (accord); Dinan v. Board of Zoning Appeals of Town of Stratford, 220 Conn. 61, 595 A.2d 864, 871 (1991) (accord); Town o......
  • Schwartz v. Phila. Zoning Bd. of Adjustment, No. 1334 C.D. 2014
    • United States
    • Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
    • September 24, 2015
    ...499, 719 S.E.2d 660 (2011) (accord); State v. Champoux, 252 Neb. 769, 776, 566 N.W.2d 763 (1997) (accord); City of Brookings v. Winker, 554 N.W.2d 827, 831–832 (S.D.1996) (accord); Dinan v. Board of Zoning Appeals of Town of Stratford, 220 Conn. 61, 595 A.2d 864, 871 (1991) (accord); Town o......
  • Arpa v. City of Ames, No. 05-0463.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • July 27, 2007
    ...Inc., 115 N.H. 645, 348 A.2d 706 (1975) (Durham, New Hampshire, home of the University of New Hampshire); City of Brookings v. Winker, 554 N.W.2d 827 (S.D. 1996) (Brookings, South Dakota, home of South Dakota State University); Anderson v. Provo City Corp., 108 P.3d 701 (Utah 2005) (Provo, ......
  • Estate of Jetter, Matter of, Nos. 19999
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • October 29, 1997
    ...interprets statutes under a de novo standard of review without deference to the decision of the trial court. City of Brookings v. Winker, 1996 SD 129, p 4, 554 N.W.2d 827, 828; In re Estate of Steed, 521 N.W.2d 675, 680 ¶11 In addition, this Court has previously noted: Statutes are to be co......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • Schwartz v. Phila. Zoning Bd. of Adjustment. Sheldon Schwartz & Kenneth L. Baritz
    • United States
    • Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
    • September 24, 2015
    ...499, 719 S.E.2d 660 (2011) (accord); State v. Champoux, 252 Neb. 769, 776, 566 N.W.2d 763 (1997) (accord); City of Brookings v. Winker, 554 N.W.2d 827, 831–832 (S.D.1996) (accord); Dinan v. Board of Zoning Appeals of Town of Stratford, 220 Conn. 61, 595 A.2d 864, 871 (1991) (accord); Town o......
  • Schwartz v. Phila. Zoning Bd. of Adjustment, No. 1334 C.D. 2014
    • United States
    • Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
    • September 24, 2015
    ...499, 719 S.E.2d 660 (2011) (accord); State v. Champoux, 252 Neb. 769, 776, 566 N.W.2d 763 (1997) (accord); City of Brookings v. Winker, 554 N.W.2d 827, 831–832 (S.D.1996) (accord); Dinan v. Board of Zoning Appeals of Town of Stratford, 220 Conn. 61, 595 A.2d 864, 871 (1991) (accord); Town o......
  • Arpa v. City of Ames, No. 05-0463.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • July 27, 2007
    ...Inc., 115 N.H. 645, 348 A.2d 706 (1975) (Durham, New Hampshire, home of the University of New Hampshire); City of Brookings v. Winker, 554 N.W.2d 827 (S.D. 1996) (Brookings, South Dakota, home of South Dakota State University); Anderson v. Provo City Corp., 108 P.3d 701 (Utah 2005) (Provo, ......
  • Estate of Jetter, Matter of, Nos. 19999
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • October 29, 1997
    ...interprets statutes under a de novo standard of review without deference to the decision of the trial court. City of Brookings v. Winker, 1996 SD 129, p 4, 554 N.W.2d 827, 828; In re Estate of Steed, 521 N.W.2d 675, 680 ¶11 In addition, this Court has previously noted: Statutes are to be co......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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