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By HERBERT HOOVER
The importance of this standard State zoning enabling act can not well be overemphasized. When the advisory committee on zoning was formed in the Department of Commerce, the proposal to frame it received unanimous support from the public-spirited orgenizations represented on the committee and other groups interested in zoning. The urgency of the need for such a standard act was at once demonstrated, when, within a year of its issuance, 11 States passed zoning enabling acts which were modeled either wholly or partly after it. Similar acts have been introduced in four other States, with the prospect of more to follow.
The discovery that it is practical by city zoning to carry out reasonable neighborly agreements as to the use of land has made an almost instant appeal to the American people. When the advisory committee on zoning was formed in the Department of Commerce in September, 1921, only 48 cities and towns, with less than 11,000,000 inhabitants, had adopted zoning ordinances. By the end of 1923, a little more than two years later, zoning was in effect in 218 municipalities, with more than 22,000,000 inhabitants, and new ones are being added to the list each month.
In this rapid movement the fundamental legal basis on which zoning rests can not be overlooked. Several of our States, fortunately, already have zoning enabling acts that have stood the test in their own courts. This standard act endeavors to provide, so far as it is practicable to foresee, that proper zoning can be undertaken under it without injustice and without violating property rights. The committee did not make it public until it had given it the most exacting and painstaking study in relation to existing State acts and court decisions and with reference to zoning as it has been practiced and found successful in cities and towns throughout the country. Prac
* By 1925 the following 19 States had used the standard act wholly or in part in their laws: Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvannia, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming.
'On January 1, 1926, there were at least 425 zoned municipalities, comprising more than half the urban population of the country.
tical. zopers who have been associated with a majority of zoned cities were consulted for their opinions, and the committee itself represents the professional, commercial, and civic societies most interested in zoning problems.
The drafting of the act has required very large effort, and the members of the advisory committee on zoning, particularly those who served on the subcommittee on standard law, merit the gratitude of the people of the United States for the thoroughness with which they executed their task.
FEBRUARY 15, 1924.
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A STANDARD STATE ZONING ENABLING ACT UNDER WHICH
MUNICIPALITIES MAY ADOPT ZONING REGULATIONS
EXPLANATORY NOTES IN GENERAL
1. An enabling act is advisable in all cases.-A general State enabling act is always advisable, and while the power to zone may, in some States, be derived from constitutional as distinguished from statutory home rule, still it is seldom that the home-rule powers will cover all the necessary provisions for successful zoning.
2. Constitutional amendments not required.-No amendment to the State constitution, as a rule, is necessary. Zoning is undertaken under the police power and is well within the powers granted to the legislature by the constitutions of the various States.
3. Modify this standard act as little as possible.-It was prepared with a full knowledge of the decisions of the courts in every case in which zoning acts have been under review, and has been carefully checked with reference to subsequent decisions. A safe course to follow is to make only those changes necessary to have the act conform to local legislative customs and modes of expression.
4. Adding new words and phrases.-Especial caution is given to beware of adding additional words and phrases which, as a rule, restrict the meaning, from the legal point of view.
5. Do not try to consolidate sections. It is natural to try to shorten the act by consolidating sections. This may defeat one of the purposes of the act, namely, of keeping the language of the statute as simple and concise as possible. It is much better to have an act broken up into a number of sections, provided they are properly drawn, than to have one or two, or a few long, involved sections. While it is recognized that some of the sections in the standard act could be combined, it is put purposely in its present form.
6. Title and enacting clause necessary.—No title of the act and no enacting clause have been included. These are purposely omitted, as the custom varies in almost every State. The act should, of course, be preceded by the appropriate title and enacting clause in accordance with the local legislative custom.
7. Definitions.—No definitions are included. The terms used in the act are so commonly understood that definitions are unneces