The reluctance of courts, as well as certain segments of the public, to accept aesthetics as the sole basis for zoning stems from a reverence for the historic rights of private property. Put in the least favorable light, aesthetic zoning may be considered as the exercise of the police power to restrain an individual in the use of his private property so that the community may have the luxury of gazing upon pleasant surroundings. Many feel that the property owner should not be compelled to bear the financial burden of making the community beautiful but instead that the community itself should pay for preserving the beauty of the community. In addition, judges and laymen alike look with disfavor upon the uncertainty caused by the use of aesthetic standards in drafting legislation. Certainly it is not an idle fear that the lack of precise standards may lead to discriminatory enforcement. For these reasons courts have moved slowly in the area of aesthetic zoning, trying to delicately balance the rights of private property against an ill-defined desire of the citizenry to have a more beautiful community to live in.
Sheldon Elliot Steinbacht,
Aesthetic Zoning: Property Values and the Judicial Decision Process,
35 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol35/iss2/3