426 U.S. 668
96 S.Ct. 2358
49 L.Ed.2d 132
CITY OF EASTLAKE et al., Petitioners,
FOREST CITY ENTERPRISES, INC.
Argued March 1, 1976.
Decided June 21, 1976.
The Ohio Constitution reserves to the people of each municipality in the State the power of referendum with respect to all questions that the municipality is authorized to control by legislation. Respondent real estate developer applied for a zoning change to permit construction of a high-rise apartment building on land it owned in petitioner Ohio city. While the application was pending, the city charter was amended by popular vote so as to require that any changes in land use agreed to by the City Council be approved by a 55% Vote in a referendum. The City Planning Commission recommended, and the City Council approved, the proposed zoning change, but the Commission rejected respondent's further application for "parking and yard" approval for the proposed apartment building on the ground that the Council's rezoning action had not been submitted to a referendum. Respondent then filed suit in state court, seeking a judgment declaring the city charter amendment invalid as an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to the people. While the action was pending, the proposed zoning change was defeated in a referendum. The charter amendment was upheld by the trial court and by the Ohio Court of Appeals, but the Ohio Supreme Court reversed, holding that the amendment constituted a delegation of power violative of federal constitutional due process guarantees because the voters were given no standards to guide their decision. Held: The city charter amendment does not violate the due process rights of a landowner who applies for a zoning change. Pp. 672-679.
(a) A referendum, which is a means for direct political participation by the people, allowing them what amounts to a veto power over legislative enactments, cannot be characterized as a delegation of power. In establishing legislative bodies, the people can reserve to themselves power to deal directly with matters that might otherwise be assigned to the legislature, and here the power of referendum was specifically reserved to the people under the Ohio Constitution. Pp. 672-674.
(b) The doctrine that legislative delegation of power to regulatory bodies must be accompanied by discernible standards is inapplicable where, as here, rather than power being delegated, the power exercised is one reserved by the people to themselves. P. 675.
(c) A referendum result that is arbitrary and capricious, bearing no relation to police power, is open to challenge in state court, where the scope of the available state remedy would be determined as a matter of state law and under the Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 676-677.
(d) As a basic instrument of democratic government, the referendum process does not, in itself, violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment when applied to a rezoning ordinance. Eubank v. Richmond, 226 U.S. 137, 33 S.Ct. 76, 57 L.Ed. 156; Washington ex rel. Seattle Title Trust Co. v. Roberge, 278 U.S. 116, 49 S.Ct. 50, 73 L.Ed. 210, distinguished. Pp. 677-679.
41 Ohio St.2d 187, 324 N.E.2d 740, reversed and remanded.
J. Melvin Andrews, Eastlake, Ohio, for petitioners.
William D. Ginn, Cleveland, Ohio, for respondent.
Mr. Chief Justice BURGER delivered the opinion of the Court.
The question in this case is whether a city charter provision requiring proposed land use changes to be ratified by 55% Of the votes cast violates the due process rights of a landowner who applies for a zoning change.
The city of Eastlake, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, has a comprehensive zoning plan codified in a municipal ordinance. Respondent, a real estate developer, acquired an eight-acre parcel of real estate in Eastlake zoned for "light industrial" uses at the time of purchase.
In May 1971, respondent applied to the City Planning Commission for a zoning change to permit construction of a multi-family, high-rise apartment building. The Planning Commission recommended the proposed change to the City Council, which under Eastlake's procedures could either accept or reject the Planning Commission's recommendation. Meanwhile, by popular vote, the voters of Eastlake amended the city charter to require that any changes in land use agreed to by the Council be approved by a 55% Vote in a referendum. The City Council approved the Planning Commission's recommendation for reclassification of respondent's property to permit the proposed project. Respondent then applied to the Planning Commission for "parking and yard" approval for the proposed building. The Commission rejected the application, on the ground that the City Council's rezoning action had not yet been submitted to the voters for ratification.
Respondent then filed an action in state court, seeking a judgment declaring the charter provision invalid as an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to the people. While the case was pending, the City Council's action was submitted to a referendum, but the proposed zoning change was not approved by the requisite 55% Margin. Following the election, the Court of Common Pleas and the Ohio Court of Appeals sustained the charter provision.
The Ohio Supreme Court reversed. 41 Ohio St.2d 187, 324 N.E.2d 740 (1975). Concluding that enactment of zoning and rezoning provisions is a legislative function, the court held that a popular referendum requirement, lacking standards to guide the decision of the voters, permitted the police power to be exercised in a standardless, hence arbitrary and capricious manner. Relying on this Court's decisions in Washington ex rel. Seattle Title Trust Co. v. Roberge, 278 U.S. 116, 49 S.Ct. 50, 73 L.Ed. 210 (1928), Thomas Cusack Co. v. Chicago, 242 U.S. 526, 37 S.Ct. 190, 61 L.Ed. 472 (1917), and Eubank v. Richmond, 226 U.S. 137, 33 S.Ct. 76, 57 L.Ed. 156 (1912), but distinguishing James v. Valtierra, 402 U.S. 137, 91 S.Ct. 1331, 28 L.Ed.2d 678 (1971), the court concluded that the referendum provision constituted an unlawful delegation of legislative power.
* The conclusion that Eastlake's procedure violates federal constitutional guarantees rests upon the proposition that a zoning referendum involves a delegation of legislative power. A referendum cannot, however, be characterized as a delegation of power. Under our constitutional assumptions, all power derives from the people, who can delegate it to representative instruments which they create. See, E. g., The Federalist No. 39 (v. Madison). In establishing legislative bodies, the people can reserve to themselves power to deal directly with matters which might otherwise be assigned to the legislature. Hunter v. Erickson, 393 U.S. 385, 392, 89 S.Ct. 557, 561, 21 L.Ed.2d 616 (1969).
The reservation of such power is the basis for the town meeting, a tradition which continues to this day in some States as both a practical and symbolic part of our democratic processes. The referendum, similarly, is a means for direct political participation, allowing the people the final decision, amounting to a veto power, over enactments of representative bodies. The practice is designed to "give citizens a voice on questions of public policy." James v. Valtierra, supra, 402 U.S., at 141, 91 S.Ct., at 1333.
In framing a state constitution, the people of Ohio specifically reserved the power of referendum to the people of each municipality within the State.
"The initiative and referendum powers are hereby reserved to the people of each municipality on all questions which such municipalities may now or hereafter be authorized by law to control by legislative action . . . ." Ohio Const., Art. II, § 1f.
To be subject to Ohio's referendum procedure, the question must be one within the scope of legislative power. The Ohio Supreme Court expressly found that the City Council's action in rezoning respondent's eight acres from light industrial to high-density residential use was legislative in nature. Distinguishing between administrative and legislative acts, the court separated the power to zone or rezone, by passage or amendment of a zoning ordinance, from the power to grant relief from unnecessary hardship. The former function was found to be legislative in nature. Accord, Denney v. Duluth, 295 Minn. 22, 28-29, 202 N.W.2d 892, 895-896 (1972); Smith v. Township of Livingston, 106 N.J.Super. 444, 454, 256 A.2d 85, 90 (1969); Wollen v. Borough of Fort Lee, 27 N.J. 408, 422, 142 A.2d 881, 888-889 (1958); Johnston v. City of Claremont, 49 Cal.2d 826, 835-836, 323 P.2d 71, 76-77 (1958); Dwyer v. City Council, 200 Cal. 505, 515, 253 P. 932, 935-936 (1927); Hilltop Realty, Inc. v. City of South Euclid, 110 Ohio App. 535, 164 N.E.2d 180 (1960). Compare Kelley v. John, 162 Neb. 319, 75 N.W.2d 713 (1956), with In re Frank, 183 Neb. 722, 723, 164 N.W.2d 215, 216 (1969).
The Ohio Supreme Court further concluded that the amendment to the city charter constituted a "delegation" of power violative of federal constitutional guarantees because the voters were given no standards to guide their decision. Under Eastlake's procedure, the Ohio Supreme Court reasoned, no mechanism existed, nor indeed could exist, to assure that the voters would act rationally in passing upon a proposed zoning change. This meant that "appropriate legislative action (would) be made dependent upon the potentially arbitrary and unreasonable whims of the voting public." 41 Ohio St.2d, at 195, 324 N.E.2d, at 746. The potential for arbitrariness in the process, the court concluded, violated due process.
Courts have frequently held in other contexts that a congressional delegation of power to a regulatory entity must be accompanied by discernible standards, so that the delegatee's action can be measured for its fidelity to the legislative will. See, E. g., Yakus v. United States, 321 U.S. 414, 64 S.Ct. 660, 88 L.Ed. 834 (1944); Amalgamated Meat Cutters v. Connally, 337 F.Supp. 737 (DC 1971). Cf. FEA v. Algonquin SNG, 426 U.S. 548, 96 S.Ct. 2295, 49 L.Ed.2d 49. See generally 8 E. McQuillan, Municipal Corporations § 25.161, pp. 521-522 (3d ed. 1965); Note, 1972 Duke L.J. 122. Assuming, Arguendo, their relevance to state governmental functions, these cases involved a delegation of power by the legislature to regulatory bodies, which are not directly responsible to the people; this doctrine is inapplicable where, as here, rather than dealing with a delegation of power, we deal with a power reserved by the people to themselves.
In basing its claim on federal due process requirements, respondent also invokes Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365, 47 S.Ct. 114, 71 L.Ed. 303 (1926), but it does not rely on the direct teaching of that case. Under Euclid, a property owner can challenge a zoning restriction if the measure is "clearly arbitrary and unreasonable, having no substantial relation to the public health, safety, morals, or general welfare." Id., at 395, 47 S.Ct., at 121. If the substantive result of the referendum is arbitrary and capricious, bearing no relation to the police power, then the fact that the voters of Eastlake wish it so would not save the restriction. As this Court held in invalidating a charter amendment enacted by referendum:
"The sovereignty of the people is itself subject to those constitutional limitations which have been duly adopted and remain unrepealed." Hunter v. Erickson, 393 U.S., at 392, 89 S.Ct., at 561.
See also Lucas v. Colorado Gen. Assembly, 377 U.S. 713, 736-737, 84 S.Ct. 1459, 1473-1474, 12 L.Ed.2d 632 (1964); West Virginia State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 638, 63 S.Ct. 1178, 1185, 87 L.Ed. 1628 (1943).
But no challenge of the sort contemplated in Euclid v. Ambler Realty is before us. The Ohio Supreme Court did not hold, and respondent does not argue, that the present zoning classification under Eastlake's comprehensive ordinance violates the principles established in Euclid v. Ambler Realty. If respondent considers the referendum result itself to be unreasonable, the zoning restriction is open to challenge in state court, where the scope of the state remedy available to respondent would be determined as a matter of state law, as well as under Fourteenth Amendment standards. That being so, nothing more is required by the Constitution.
Nothing in our cases is inconsistent with this conclusion. Two decisions of this Court were relied on by the Ohio Supreme Court in invalidating Eastlake's procedure. The thread common to both decisions is the delegation of legislative power, originally given by the people to a legislative body, and in turn delegated by the legislature to a Narrow segment of the community, not to the people at large. In Eubank v. Richmond, 226 U.S. 137, 33 S.Ct. 76, 57 L.Ed. 156 (1912), the Court invalidated a city ordinance which conferred the power to establish building setback lines upon the owners of two-thirds of the property abutting any street. Similarly, in Washington ex rel. Seattle Title Trust Co. v. Roberge, 278 U.S. 116, 49 S.Ct. 50, 73 L.Ed. 210 (1928), the Court struck down an ordinance which permitted the establishment of philanthropic homes for the aged in residential areas, but only upon the written consent of the owners of two-third of the property within 400 feet of the proposed facility.
Neither Eubank nor Roberge involved a referendum procedure such as we have in this case; the standardless delegation of power to a limited group of property owners condemned by the Court in Eubank and Roberge is not to be equated with decisionmaking by the people through the referendum process. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit put it this way:
"A referendum, however, is far more than an expression of ambiguously founded neighborhood preference. It is the city itself legislating through its voters an exercise by the voters of their traditional right through direct legislation to override the views of their elected representatives as to what serves the public interest." Southern Alameda Spanish Speaking Organization v. Union City, California, 424 F.2d 291, 294 (1970).
Our decision in James v. Valtierra, upholding California's mandatory referendum requirement, confirms this view. Mr. Justice Black, speaking for the Court in that case, said:
"This procedure ensures that All the people of a community will have a voice in a decision which may lead to large expenditures of local governmental funds for increased public services . . . ." 402 U.S., at 143, 91 S.Ct., at 1334 (emphasis added)
Mr. Justice Black went on to say that a referendum procedure, such as the one at issue here, is a classic demonstration of "devotion to democracy . . . ." Id., at 141, 91 S.Ct., at 1333. As a basic instrument of democratic government, the referendum process does not, in itself, violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment when applied to a rezoning ordinance. Since the rezoning decision in this case was properly reserved to the People of Eastlake under the Ohio Constitution, the Ohio Supreme Court erred in holding invalid, on federal constitutional grounds, the charter amendment permitting the voters to decide whether the zoned use of respondent's property could be altered.
The judgment of the Ohio Supreme Court is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.
Reversed and remanded.
Mr. Justice POWELL, dissenting.
There can be no doubt as to the propriety and legality of submitting generally applicable legislative questions, including zoning provisions, to a popular referendum. But here the only issue concerned the status of a single small parcel owned by a single "person." This procedure, affording no realistic opportunity for the affected person to be heard, even by the electorate, is fundamentally unfair. The "spot" referendum technique appears to open disquieting opportunities for local government bodies to bypass normal protective procedures for resolving issues affecting individual rights.
Mr. Justice STEVENS, with whom Mr. Justice BRENNAN joins, dissenting.
The city's reliance on the town meeting process of decisionmaking tends to obfuscate the two critical issues in this case. These issues are (1) whether the procedure which a city employs in deciding to grant or to deny a property owner's request for a change in the zoning of his property must comply with the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; and (2) if so, whether the procedure employed by the city of Eastlake is fundamentally fair?
* We might rule in favor of the city on the theory that the referendum requirement did not deprive respondent of any interest in property and therefore the Due Process Clause is wholly inapplicable. After all, when respondent bought this parcel, it was zoned for light industrial use and it still retains that classification. The Court does not adopt any such rationale; nor, indeed, does the city even advance that argument. On the contrary, throughout this litigation everyone has assumed, without discussing the problem, that the Due Process Clause does apply. Both reason and authority support that assumption.
Subject to limitations imposed by the common law of nuisance and zoning restrictions, the owner of real property has the right to develop his land to his own economic advantage. As land continues to become more scarce, and as land use planning constantly becomes more sophisticated, the needs and the opportunities for unforeseen uses of specific parcels of real estate continually increase. For that reason, no matter how comprehensive a zoning plan may be, it regularly contains some mechanism for granting variances, amendments, or exemptions for specific uses of specific pieces of property. responsibly prepared plan could wholly deny the need for presently unforeseeable future change.
A zoning code is unlike other legislation affecting the use of property. The deprivation caused by a zoning code is customarily qualified by recognizing the property owner's right to apply for an amendment or variance to accommodate his individual needs. The expectancy that particular changes consistent with the basic zoning plan will be allowed frequently and on their merits is a normal incident of property ownership, when the governing body offers the owner the opportunity to seek such a change whether that opportunity is denominated a privilege or a right it is affording protection to the owner's interest in making legitimate use of his property.
The fact that an individual owner (like any other petitioner or plaintiff) may not have a legal right to the relief he seeks does not mean that he has no right to fair procedure in the consideration of the merits of his application. The fact that codes regularly provide a procedure for granting individual exceptions or changes, the fact that such changes are granted in individual cases with great frequency, and the fact that the particular code in the record before us contemplates that changes consistent with the basic plan will be allowed, all support my opinion that the opportunity to apply for an amendment is an aspect of property ownership protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
This conclusion is supported by the few cases in this Court which have decided zoning questions, and by many well-reasoned state-court decisions. In both Eubank v. City of Richmond, 226 U.S. 137, 33 S.Ct. 76, 57 L.Ed. 156 and Washington ex rel. Seattle Title Trust Co. v. Roberge, 278 U.S. 116, 49 S.Ct. 50, 73 L.Ed. 210 the Court invalidated ordinances for procedural reasons. In Eubank the Court held that the method of imposing a building-line restriction on a property owner was defective. In Roberge, which is more analogous to this case, the Court invalidated the requirement that the owners of two-thirds of the property within 400 feet must give their approval to the plaintiff's proposed use of his property. Implicitly, both cases hold that the process of making decisions affecting the use of particular pieces of property must meet constitutional standards.
Although this Court has decided only a handful of zoning cases, literally thousands of zoning disputes have been resolved by state courts. Those courts have repeatedly identified the obvious difference between the adoption of a comprehensive citywide plan by legislative action and the decision of particular issues involving specific uses of specific parcels. In the former situation there is generally great deference to the judgment of the legislature; in the latter situation state courts have not hesitated to correct manifest injustice.
The distinction was plainly drawn by the Supreme Court of Oregon:
"Ordinances laying down general policies without regard to a specific piece of property are usually an exercise of legislative authority, are subject to limited review, and may only be attacked upon constitutional grounds for an arbitrary abuse of authority. On the other hand, a determination whether the permissible use of a specific piece of property should be changed is usually an exercise of judicial authority and its propriety is subject to an altogether different test." Fasano v. Board of County Comm'rs, 264 Or. 574, 580-581, 507 P.2d 23, 26 (1973).
And the Supreme Court of Washington made the point in this way:
"Zoning decisions may be either administrative or legislative depending upon the nature of the act. But, whatever their nature or the importance of their categorization for other purposes, zoning decisions which deal with an amendment of the code or reclassification of land thereunder must be arrived at fairly. The process by which they are made, subsequent to the adoption of a comprehensive plan and a zoning code, is basically adjudicatory.
"Generally, when a municipal legislative body enacts a comprehensive plan and zoning code it acts in a policy making capacity. But in amending a zoning code, or reclassifying land thereunder, the same body, in effect, makes an adjudication between the rights sought by the proponents and those claimed by the opponents of the zoning change. The parties whose interests are affected are readily identifiable. Although important questions of public policy may permeate a zoning amendment, the decision has a far greater impact on one group of citizens than on the public generally." Fleming v. City of Tacoma, 81 Wash.2d 292, 298-299, 502 P.2d 327, 331 (1972) (citations omitted).
Specialists in the practice of zoning law are unhappily familiar with the potential for abuse which exists when inadequate procedural safeguards apply to the dispensation of special grants. The power to deny arbitrarily may give rise to the power to exact intolerable conditions. The insistence on fair procedure in this area of the law falls squarely within the purpose of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
When we examine a state procedure for the purpose of deciding whether it comports with the constitutional standard of due process, the fact that a State may give it a "legislative" label should not save an otherwise invalid procedure. We should, however, give some deference to the conclusion of the highest court of the State that the procedure represents an arbitrary and unreasonable way of handling a local problem.
In this case, the Ohio courts arrived at the conclusion that Art. VIII, § 3, of the charter of the city of Eastlake, as amended on November 2, 1971, is wholly invalid in three stages. At no stage of the case has there been any suggestion that respondent's proposed use of its property would be inconsistent with the city's basic zoning plan, or would have any impact on the municipal budget or adversely affect the city's potential economic development.
First, the requirement that the property owner pay the cost of the special election was invalidated in the trial court and in the Ohio Court of Appeals. Second, the Ohio Supreme Court held that the mandatory referendum was "clearly invalid" insofar as it purported to apply to a change in land use approved by the City Council "in an administrative capacity." Without explaining when the Council's action is properly characterized as legislative instead of administrative, the court then held that even though its approval in this case was legislative, the entire referendum requirement was invalid. The court reasoned:
"Due process of law requires that procedures for the exercise of municipal power be structured such that fundamental choices among competing municipal policies are resolved by a responsible organ of government. It also requires that a municipality protect individuals against the arbitrary exercise of municipal power, by assuring that fundamental policy choices underlying the exercise of that power are articulated by some responsible organ of municipal government. McGautha v. California (1971), 402 U.S. 183, 256, 270, 91 S.Ct. 1454, 28 L.Ed.2d 711. The Eastlake charter provision ignored these concepts and blatantly delegated legislative authority, with no assurance that the result reached thereby would be reasonable or rational. For these reasons, the provision clearly violates the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment." 41 Ohio St.2d 187, 196, 324 N.E.2d 740, 746 (1975) (footnote omitted).
The concurring opinion expressed additional reasons for regarding the referendum requirement as arbitrary. Speaking for four members of the Ohio Supreme Court, Justice Stern stated:
"There can be little doubt of the true purpose of Eastlake's charter provision it is to obstruct change in land use, by rendering such change so burdensome as to be prohibitive. The charter provision was apparently adopted specifically, to prevent multi-family housing, and indeed was adopted while Forest City's application for rezoning to permit a multi-family housing project was pending before the City Planning Commission and City Council. The restrictive purpose of the provision is crudely apparent on its face. Any zoning change, regardless of how minor, and regardless of its approval by the Planning Commission and the City Council, must be approved by a city-wide referendum. The proposed change must receive, rather than a simple majority, at least a 55 percent affirmative vote. Finally, the owner of the property affected is required to pay the cost of the election, although the provision gives no hint as to exactly which costs would be billed to a property owner.
"There is no subtlety to this; it is simply an attempt to render change difficult and expensive under the guise of popular democracy.
"Even stripped of its harsher provisions the charter provision poses serious problems. A mandatory, city-wide referendum which applies to any zoning change must, of necessity, submit decisions that affect one person's use of his property to thousands of voters with no interest whatever in that property. We need only imagine the adoption of this same provision in a city such as Cleveland. By such a provision, rezoning for a corner gasoline station would require the approval of hundreds of thousands of voters, most of them living miles away, and few of them with the slightest interest in the matter. This would be government by caprice, and would seriously dilute the right of private ownership of property. The law recognizes that the use a person makes of his property must inevitably affect his neighbors and, in some cases, the surrounding community. These real interests are entitled to be balanced against the rights of a property owner; but a law which requires a property owner, who proposes a wholly benign use of his property, to obtain the assent of thousands of persons with no such interest, goes beyond any reasonable public purpose." Id., at 199-200, 324 N.E.2d, at 748-749.
As the Justices of the Ohio Supreme Court recognized, we are concerned with the fairness of a provision for determining the right to make a particular use of a particular parcel of land. In such cases, the state courts have frequently described the capricious character of a decision supported by majority sentiment rather than reference to articulable standards. Moreover, they have limited statutory referendum procedures to apply only to approvals of comprehensive zoning ordinances as opposed to amendments affecting specific parcels. This conclusion has been supported by characterizing particular amendments as "administrative" and revision of an entire plan as "legislative."
In this case the Ohio Supreme Court characterized the Council's approval of respondent's proposal as "legislative." I think many state courts would have characterized it as "administrative." The courts thus may well differ in their selection of the label to apply to this action, but I find substantial agreement among state tribunals on the proposition that requiring a citywide referendum for approval of a particular proposal like this is manifestly unreasonable. Surely that is my view.
The essence of fair procedure is that the interested parties be given a reasonable opportunity to have their dispute resolved on the merits by reference to articulable rules. If a dispute involves only the conflicting rigs of private litigants, it is elementary that the decision-maker must be impartial and qualified to understand and to apply the controlling rules.
I have no doubt about the validity of the initiative or the referendum as an appropriate method of deciding questions of community policy. I think it is equally clear that the popular vote is not an acceptable method of adjudicating the rights of individual litigants. The problem presented by this case is unique, because it may involve a three-sided controversy, in which there is at least potential conflict between the rights of the property owner and the rights of his neighbors, and also potential conflict with the public interest in preserving the city's basic zoning plan. If the latter aspect of the controversy were predominant, the referendum would be an acceptable procedure. On the other hand, when the record indicates without contradiction that there is no threat to the general public interest in preserving the city's plan as it does in this case, since respondent's proposal was approved by both the Planning Commission and the City Council and there has been no allegation that the use of this eight-acre parcel for apartments rather than light industry would adversely affect the community or raise any policy issue of citywide concern I think the case should be treated as one in which it is essential that the private property owner be given a fair opportunity to have his claim determined on its merits.
As Justice Stern points out in his concurring opinion, it would be absurd to use a referendum to decide whether a gasoline station could be operated on a particular corner in the city of Cleveland. The case before us is not that clear because we are told that there are only 20,000 people in the city of Eastlake. Conceivably, an eight-acre development could be sufficiently dramatic to arouse the legitimate interest of the entire community; it is also conceivable that most of the voters would be indifferent and uninformed about the wisdom of building apartments rather than a warehouse or factory on these eight acres. The record is silent on which of these alternatives is the more probable. Since the ordinance places a manifestly unreasonable obstacle in the path of every property owner seeking any zoning change, since it provides no standards or procedures for exempting particular parcels or claims from the referendum requirement, and since the record contains no justification for the use of the procedure in this case, I am persuaded that we should respect the state judiciary's appraisal of the fundamental fairness of this decisionmaking process in this case.
I therefore conclude that the Ohio Supreme Court correctly held that Art. VIII, § 3, of the Eastlake charter violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and that its judgment should be affirmed.