the imponderables and the unforeseen circumstances. Costs of construction may turn out to be much greater than expected; there may be such an over building that office space might become difficult to rent and office rents might come down; costs of operation might be increased, and that is not impossible; a large tenant might become insolvent and there might be a financial loss. Obviously it is impossible to predicate a definitive finding as to the likelihood of profitable operations over a long period of years, on such a speculative basis.
But beyond that, even if the Court were to accept the optimistic predictions of the plaintiff's expert in this respect, it must be borne in mind that the very purpose of modern city zoning is to limit and direct uses of properties, and such limitations and restrictions may at times cause a reduction of income from a particular piece of property. Until zoning was introduced, which is a modern innovation, cities grew without any plan, without any rhyme or reason, very much to the detriment of the population as well as the property owners.
The Court is, therefore, of the opinion that the Zoning Commission has not exceeded the scope of a sound discretion in declining to rezone this property as requested. In this connection it must be noted that the purpose of zoning is to create districts, large or small, and not to zone or rezone specific pieces of property. Whether an exception should be granted to a particular piece of property is a matter within the jurisdiction of the Board of Zoning Adjustment, which of course is subject to certain limitations.
There is one other point that must be discussed. The statute requires the Zoning Commission to act in accordance with a comprehensive plan, D.C.Code, Sec. 5-414. It is claimed in behalf of the plaintiffs that the Commission has never adopted a comprehensive plan, that, therefore, there is no foundation for the regulations, and that consequently the regulations are invalid. The Court has considerable doubt whether a litigant has a right, first, to claim relief under the regulations and then to assert that they are invalid. But assuming arguendo, without deciding, that a litigant may do so, the Court is of the opinion that the contention is not well founded on its merits. It is apparently based on the thought that the Commission was required to take two separate steps in chronological order: first, to design a comprehensive plan; and, second, having done so, to promulgate regulations. This is a misconception. The adoption of a comprehensive plan and the promulgation of the regulations, accompanied by a city-wide map, as has been done here, may all be a single act. All that requirement seems to mean is that the entire city must be zoned on a comprehensive basis and that the Commission may not zone just a part of the city and leave the balance without any regulations.
This view has been adopted in other jurisdictions. In Clark v. Town Council of Town of West Hartford, 145 Conn. 476, 144 A.2d 327, 333, decided by the highest court of Connecticut, it was stated that the comprehensive plan 'may be found in the scheme of the zoning regulations themselves.' A similar view was expressed by the highest court of New Jersey in Ward v. Montgomery Township, 28 N.J. 529, 147 A.2d 248, 252.
The Court reaches the conclusion, therefore, that the requirement of the adoption of a comprehensive plan has been substantially complied with.
In the light of the considerations here discussed the Court is of the opinion that the plaintiff is not entitled to recover.
Judgment will be entered on the merits in favor of the defendants dismissing the complaint.
A transcript of this oral decision will constitute the findings of fact and the conclusions of law. Counsel may submit a proposed judgment.
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