Within any particular use district, only certain uses of land were permitted. For example, U-1 areas were limited to single family dwellings, public parks, and certain other activities. Higher number districts, such as a U-3 district would permit the uses allowed under U-1, U-2, and U-3. In essence, each plot of land was labeled such that there would be an understanding of the types of businesses and buildings permitted, how tall the buildings could be, and more.
An interesting note, the Court remarked that zoning laws were created twenty five years before this case, in 1901. The Court recognized the changing of the times and “while the meaning of constitutional guaranties never varies, the scope of their application must expand or contract to meet the new and different conditions which are constantly coming within the field of their operation.” This description of a living Constitution is a side-note to the main issue, but an interesting element nonetheless.
The Court determined all zoning laws must be based in the police power and created for the public welfare. Furthermore, “[i]f the validity of the legislative classification for zoning purposes be fairly debatable, the legislative judgement must be allowed to control.”
Based upon policy reason, the Court held these ordinances were designed to increase public safety for a variety of reasons. The Court demanded a finding “before the ordinance can be declared unconstitutional, that such provisions are clearly arbitrary and unreasonable, having no substantial relation to the public health, safety, morals, or general welfare.”
This case is important as the ordinance created by the Village of Euclid is the basis for modern zoning ordinances. If you look to the local zoning laws, there are districts based upon permitted and prohibited uses. There have been other cases limiting what can be done for certain circumstances and expansions in other situations. However, this case upheld and permitted the existence of these zoning laws.