Throughout the nation, suburbs located near established metropolitan centers are seeking ways to provide necessary municipal services to rapidly expanding populations without substantial increases in local taxes. In doing so, they wish to preserve the character of their community and avoid any undesirable growth. This new attitude toward urban growth was displayed in the comprehensive plan developed for Petaluma, California. In Construction Industry Association v. Petaluma, the Ninth Circuit found that the Petaluma Plan ("the Plan") was a reasonable attempt by the city to deal with these growth pressures when it found itself unable to provide needed public services, such as sewage disposal plants, schools, water supplies, parks, fire protection and health services. Communities, such as Petaluma, are expected to provide for the interests of present and future citizens and still take into account the impact which their actions will have on the larger metropolitan area. They must often act without effective regional or statewide standards to guide them in making the necessary decisions. However, they also need flexible controls to enable them to balance increased housing needs with diminished land resources and growing needs for public services with tight municipal budgets. This Note examines the judicial approach taken in Petaluma and contrasts it with state court decisions which have generally considered judicial intervention to be an appropriate device to strike down local zoning regulations when they have not properly provided for regional problems.
Alan D. Slattery,
Zoning Growth Controls for the General Welfare: Construction Industry Association v. Petaluma, 522 F.2d 897 (9th Cir. 1975),
55 Neb. L. Rev. 523
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol55/iss3/9