Equal Protection and Aesthetic Zoning: A Possible Crack and a Preemptive Repair
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The US States' power to regulate reasonably the use of private property to promote public health, safety, and welfare derives from the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. Currently, a majority of states permit zoning based on aesthetics in combination with more traditional bases such as health and safety, and a minority allow zoning based solely on aesthetic factors. A fairly recent Supreme Court decision may empower disaffected property owners with an alternative way to challenge aesthetic zoning regulations. The benefit of framing the question in this manner is that it allows the use of elementary set theory to clarify the nature of the misfit. The under and overrepresentation problems are endemic to scientific inquiry as well as to legislative enactments, suggesting that reliance on any one operation or legislative means nearly always leads to distorted conclusions or undue burdens.