Municipal Corporations – Zoning – Amortization of Existing Noncomforming Uses

ln 1930 defendant Gage acquired several lots in the City of Los Angeles. He constructed a residential building in which he established a wholesale and retail plumbing business, using one room as an office for the conduct of his business. Also used in the business were a garage and racks, bins, and stalls for the storage of materials and supplies. The use to which defendant put the property was permitted under the applicable zoning ordinance of 1930. Later the ordinance was changed so as to make defendant’s use of both lots nonconforming. In 1946 another rezoning ordinance provided that the nonconforming commercial use of a residential building and the nonconforming use of land where no buildings were employed in connection with such use should be discontinued within five years. Five years having elapsed, plaintiff brought suit for an injunction ordering defendant to discontinue the prohibited use of his property. The lower court refused an injunction on the ground that to order defendant to abandon a twenty-year-old user would be a deprivation of property without due process of law. On appeal, held, reversed. The requirement that an existing nonconforming use be discontinued within five years from the date of passage of the zoning ordinance is a constitutional exercise of the police power. City of Los Angeles v. Gage, (Cal. App. 1954) 274 P. (2d) 34.