Constitutional Law- Zoning – Private High Schools Excluded from Zone in Which Public High Schools Permitted

Among the uses permitted in the “A” residence zone by the Wauwatosa, Wisconsin zoning ordinance were “(e) Public Schools and Private Elementary Schools.” The city building inspector denied to plaintiff, a private, non-profit religious corporation, a permit for the construction of a private high school in that zone. Plaintiff brought an action in mandamus to compel the issuance of such a permit, alleging that the ordinance deprived plaintiff of property without due process of law, and denied to it the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. The lower court granted the writ. On appeal, held, reversed. The detrimental effect which the proposed school would have on the affected residential neighborhood justified making it a subject of the zoning power. Furthermore, the distinction made between public and private high schools was justified by the lesser contribution to the general welfare made by the private high school. State ex rel. Wisconsin Lutheran High School Conference v. Sinar, 267 Wis. 91, 65 N.W. (2d) 43 (1954).