of the requirements of 'full reasons' must be made in the light of what experience has shown to be the soundest approach to the review and disposition of administrative determinations of a quasi-judicial character.'
In Saginaw Broadcasting Co. v. Federal Communications Commission, 68 App.D.C. 282, 287, 96 F.2d 554 (1938), the court required findings of fact in order to apprise 'the reviewing tribunal of the factual basis of the action of the court or commission * * *'.
It is well established that the authority of the Zoning Commission is legislative. Zahn et al. v. Board of Public Works et al., 274 U.S. 325, 328, 47 S. Ct. 594, 71 L. Ed. 1074 (1927); Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365, 388, 395, 47 S. Ct. 114, 71 L. Ed. 303.
Certainly the functions of the Commission in planning comprehensive zoning for the District of Columbia are legislative; but, it appears to this Court that whenever the Commission acts on the petition of a resident for a change in the zoning of his property, it acts in a quasi-judicial capacity, in that a determination must be reached on the evidence adduced and the applicable law, ever mindful of their responsibility to the interests of the community to protect the health, safety and welfare. Such a determination is subject to review by the courts, not on the merits of the issues presented But as to whether the action was justified or was capricious, arbitrary, unreasonable or discriminatory. Such a review can only be accomplished when the decision of the Commission contains findings of fact on which the decision was based.
We are unable to locate any authority in this jurisdiction which requires that the Zoning Commission state findings of fact for a particular decision. However, other jurisdictions have so held. In Petrarca v. Zoning Board of Review, 78 R.I. 130, 80 A.2d 156 (1957), the court held as follows:
'Petitioner's complaint that the board failed to give any reason for its decision is justified. Here, as in other instances that have come to our attention, the board did not perform its duty in accordance with our repeated direction to the effect that a zoning board should set forth, even though it be in a summary manner, the ground or grounds for its action. The parties and this court are entitled to know the reasons for the board's decision in order to avoid speculation, doubt and unnecessary delay.'
See also Zoning Law and Practice, Yokely (1953), sec. 145, in which the author cites Petrarca and several other cases which require that the zoning authority set forth reasons for its action.
This court is of the opinion that a proper review cannot be conducted until the Zoning Commission sets forth its rationale for the action in this case, and, as stated in Robey v. Schwab, 307 F.2d at 202:
'* * * We do not mean, of course, to imply that the Board's findings must be set forth with such minute particularity as to amount to an exhaustive summation of all the evidence of record. We hold only that in a given case the Board must assume the responsibility of expressing the basic facts on which it relied with sufficient specificity to convey to the parties, as well as to the court, an adequate statement of the facts which persuaded the Board to arrive at its decision.'
Therefore, in accordance with the foregoing, it is by the Court, this 16th day of October, 1963,
Ordered, that this matter be, and the same hereby is, remanded to the Zoning Commission for the District of Columbia with the directive that the Commission submit findings of fact in support of the denial of plaintiffs' petition for the commercial zoning of their property.
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