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Washington ex Rel. Seattle Title Trust Co v. Roberge, 278 U.S. 116 (1928)

Washington ex Rel. Seattle Title Trust Co v. Roberge

No. 29

Argued October 11, 12, 1928

Decided November 19, 1928

278 U.S. 116


1. Zoning measures must find their justification in the police power exerted in the public interest; unnecessary and unreasonable restrictions may not be imposed upon the use of private property or the pursuit of useful activities. P. 278 U. S. 120.

2. A trust company owning and maintaining, as trustee, a philanthropic home for old people in a residential district sought to replace the structure with a larger one for the same purposes, but was denied a permit under a zoning ordinance providing that such a building should be permitted "when the written consent shall have been obtained of the owners of two-thirds of the property within 400 feet of the proposed building." The denial was based upon the sole ground that such consent had not been obtained, there being nothing to show that the building and its use would constitute a nuisance or be otherwise objectionable in the community or conflict with the public interest or the general zoning plan.


(1) That the condition requiring consent of property owners was repugnant to the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 278 U. S. 121.

(2) The condition being void, the trustee was entitled to a permit. P. 278 U. S. 123.

144 Wash. 74 reversed.

Error to a judgment of the Supreme Court of Washington which affirmed the dismissal of an action for a writ of mandate to compel the Superintendent of Building of the City of Seattle to issue a permit to the relator, the plaintiff in error.

Page 278 U. S. 117

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