City of Brookside Village v. Comeau, No. C-431

CourtSupreme Court of Texas
Writing for the CourtBARROW
Citation633 S.W.2d 790
PartiesCITY OF BROOKSIDE VILLAGE, Petitioner, v. Homer N. COMEAU, et ux., Respondents.
Docket NumberNo. C-431
Decision Date19 May 1982

Page 790

633 S.W.2d 790
CITY OF BROOKSIDE VILLAGE, Petitioner,
v.
Homer N. COMEAU, et ux., Respondents.
No. C-431.
Supreme Court of Texas.
May 19, 1982.
Rehearing Denied June 30, 1982.

Page 792

Manley, Hesson & Kuhlmann, William E. Kuhlmann, Pasadena, for petitioner.

John A. Wright, Jr., Houston, for respondents.

BARROW, Justice.

This is a suit for permanent injunction, brought by Homer N. Comeau and Hazel A. Comeau, to enjoin the City of Brookside Village from enforcing two ordinances relating to the location of mobile homes and to recover damages. The trial court, without a jury, held the ordinances were valid and constitutional and rendered a take nothing judgment against the Comeaus. The court of civil appeals affirmed the portion of the judgment ordering that the Comeaus take nothing by their suit but reversed and rendered the judgment of the trial court on the issue of the validity of the city's ordinances. 616 S.W.2d 333. It held the ordinances unconstitutional, as an unfair restriction on the use of property which served no legitimate state interest. 1 We reverse the judgment of the court of civil appeals and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

The Comeaus are owners of a four acre lot in Brookside Village, a small "bedroom" community north of Pearland. A store and storage sheds are located on their lot. The Comeaus sought, by application to the city council, permission to place a mobile home on the premises for use as their residence. The request, presented in July of 1978, was denied by the council pursuant to the city's Mobile Home Code, ordinance numbers 58 and 78. 2 Subsequent to the council's denial of a permit for occupancy, the Comeaus brought this suit against the City.

The Comeaus contend that (1) the ordinances impose an arbitrary restriction on property use, not related to the preservation of the general health, safety, morals or welfare of the community and hence represent an unconstitutional exercise of police power; and (2) the ordinances attempt to regulate in an area preempted by federal and state law 3 and are thus invalid.

We turn first to consideration of whether ordinances restricting the location of mobile homes to mobile home parks and regulating the construction, operation and maintenance of such parks are valid under a municipality's grant of police power. Both parties concede that the ordinances in question are essentially zoning or land use ordinances. Zoning regulation is a recognized tool of community planning, allowing a municipality, in the exercise of its legislative discretion, to restrict the use of private property. Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365, 47 S.Ct. 114, 71 L.Ed. 303 (1926); Lombardo v. City of Dallas, 124 Tex. 1, 73 S.W.2d 475 (1934). Judicial review of a municipality's regulatory action is necessarily circumscribed as appropriate to the line of demarcation between legislative and judicial functions. As stated previously by this Court: "A city ordinance is presumed to be valid ... (and) ... the courts have no authority to interfere unless the ordinance is unreasonable and arbitrary-a clear abuse of municipal discretion." Hunt v. City of San Antonio, 462 S.W.2d 536, 539 (Tex.1971); see Thompson v. City of Palestine, 510 S.W.2d 579 (Tex.1974). The party attacking the ordinance bears an "extraordinary burden" to show "that no conclusive

Page 793

or even controversial or issuable fact or condition existed" which would authorize the municipality's passage of the ordinance. Thompson v. City of Palestine, supra; City of Waxahachie v. Watkins, 154 Tex. 206, 275 S.W.2d 477 (1955).

The City of Brookside Village has no comprehensive zoning plan. The ordinances before us nevertheless have the effect of a zoning regulation and are to be scrutinized under the aforementioned principles relating to a municipality's exercise of general police power. 4 We are directed to consider all circumstances and determine, as a substantive matter, if reasonable minds may differ as to whether a particular zoning regulation has a substantial relationship to the protection of the general health, safety or welfare of the public. If the evidence before this Court reveals an issuable fact in this respect, the restriction must stand as valid. City of Waxahachie v. Watkins, supra; Charleston Homeowners Ass'n v. LaCoke, 507 S.W.2d 876 (Tex.Civ.App.-Dallas 1974, writ ref'd n. r. e.).

Several considerations are advanced by petitioner in support of the council's enactment of ordinances 58 and 78. The city has no municipal water or sewage system, all water and sewage being provided by individual water wells and septic tanks. Potential water and sewage problems of living quarters placed too close together without adequate room for the necessary septic tank drainage area exist because of the geography of the area; the soil around and within Brookside Village is a gumbo or clay of a poor absorption capability. The city's problem with septic tanks and water wells was stated as a major impetus to the passage of ordinance number 58, regulating mobile home parks. The higher incidence of fire in mobile homes, coupled with the need to insure sufficient water well placement for the city's small fire department was also cited as a concern addressed by the regulation.

As originally enacted, ordinance number 58 made allowance for the location of mobile homes outside a mobile home park, with limitations as to lot size. Ordinance 78 deleted such authorization, with the following inclusion: "Parking of mobile homes, camper buses, motor homes and camper trailers, for use as a residence, outside of a mobile home park shall be prohibited." The purpose of the enactment of ordinance number 78, as testified to by a member of the city council, was to control the location of mobile homes moving into the area, a constraint deemed necessary to protect property values and guard against the sewage and water problems by regulation of facilities.

The specific issues of a municipality's regulation of mobile home parks and restriction of location of mobile homes do not appear to have been previously addressed in this state. 5 We hold that such regulation of mobile homes represents a valid exercise of a municipality's police power. The ordinances here in question

Page 794

bear a substantial relationship to the public health, safety, morals or general welfare. They are not clearly arbitrary and unreasonable, and hence are not unconstitutional. In so holding, we align ourselves with the majority rule of other jurisdictions on the matter of mobile home regulation. See generally Annot., 42 A.L.R.3d 598 (1972).

The courts of other jurisdictions have recognized that mobile home parks pose special health problems and are amenable to regulations designed to eliminate such hazards. Regulation of mobile home parks finds additional support in the business nature of the use. The Supreme Court of Georgia, upholding an ordinance which regulated trailer camps and trailer sites in a township, summarized its rationale as follows:

The congestion of living conditions inherent in a trailer park, together with the uncertainty as to sanitary conditions, including water, sewage,...

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103 practice notes
  • Nat'l Solid Wastes Mgmt. Ass'n v. City of Dall., Civil Action No. 3:11–cv–3200–O.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Northern District of Texas
    • 16 Octubre 2012
    ...by a state statute is unenforceable to the extent that it conflicts with the state statute. See City of Brookside Vill. v. Comeau, 633 S.W.2d 790, 796 (Tex.1982). “[T]he mere fact that the legislature has enacted a law addressing a subject does not mean the subject matter is completely pree......
  • N.W. Enterprises, Inc. v. City of Houston, Civil Action No. H-97-0196.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • 18 Febrero 1998
    ...buildings and structures in such districts,"88 as well as several Texas state court cases, including City of Brookside Village v. Comeau, 633 S.W.2d 790 (Tex. 1982); MJR's Fare of Dallas v. City of Dallas, 792 S.W.2d 569, 573 (Tex.App. — Dallas 1990, writ denied); and City of Houston v. Joh......
  • ESI/Employee Sols., L.P. v. City of Dall., CIVIL ACTION NO. 4:19-CV-570-SDJ
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • 30 Marzo 2020
    ...conflicts with the state statute." Dall. Merch's & Concessionaire's Ass'n, 852 S.W.2d at 491 (citing City of Brookside Vill. v. Comeau, 633 S.W.2d 790, 796 (Tex. 1982)). Mere coexistence in the same statutory ambit as state legislation does not preempt a municipal ordinance per se where it ......
  • Leibowitz v. City of Mineola, Tex., Civil Action No. 6:08CV397.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • 2 Octubre 2009
    ...See Dallas Merchant's & Concessionaire's Assoc. v. City of Dallas, 852 S.W.2d 489, 491 (Tex.1993); City of Brookside Village v. Comeau, 633 S.W.2d 790, 796 (Tex.1982). An ordinance that is not in conflict with state law is not void. See City of Weslaco v. Melton, 158 Tex. 61, 308 S.W.2d 18 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
103 cases
  • Nat'l Solid Wastes Mgmt. Ass'n v. City of Dall., Civil Action No. 3:11–cv–3200–O.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Northern District of Texas
    • 16 Octubre 2012
    ...by a state statute is unenforceable to the extent that it conflicts with the state statute. See City of Brookside Vill. v. Comeau, 633 S.W.2d 790, 796 (Tex.1982). “[T]he mere fact that the legislature has enacted a law addressing a subject does not mean the subject matter is completely pree......
  • N.W. Enterprises, Inc. v. City of Houston, Civil Action No. H-97-0196.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • 18 Febrero 1998
    ...buildings and structures in such districts,"88 as well as several Texas state court cases, including City of Brookside Village v. Comeau, 633 S.W.2d 790 (Tex. 1982); MJR's Fare of Dallas v. City of Dallas, 792 S.W.2d 569, 573 (Tex.App. — Dallas 1990, writ denied); and City of Houston v. Joh......
  • ESI/Employee Sols., L.P. v. City of Dall., CIVIL ACTION NO. 4:19-CV-570-SDJ
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • 30 Marzo 2020
    ...conflicts with the state statute." Dall. Merch's & Concessionaire's Ass'n, 852 S.W.2d at 491 (citing City of Brookside Vill. v. Comeau, 633 S.W.2d 790, 796 (Tex. 1982)). Mere coexistence in the same statutory ambit as state legislation does not preempt a municipal ordinance per se where it ......
  • Leibowitz v. City of Mineola, Tex., Civil Action No. 6:08CV397.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • 2 Octubre 2009
    ...See Dallas Merchant's & Concessionaire's Assoc. v. City of Dallas, 852 S.W.2d 489, 491 (Tex.1993); City of Brookside Village v. Comeau, 633 S.W.2d 790, 796 (Tex.1982). An ordinance that is not in conflict with state law is not void. See City of Weslaco v. Melton, 158 Tex. 61, 308 S.W.2d 18 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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