Jankovich v. Indiana Toll Road Commission

RESPONDENT: Indiana Toll Road Commission
LOCATION: Point of picking up hitchhiker

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)

CITATION: 379 US 487 (1965)
ARGUED: Dec 10, 1964
DECIDED: Jan 18, 1965

Facts of the case


Media for Jankovich v. Indiana Toll Road Commission

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 10, 1964 in Jankovich v. Indiana Toll Road Commission

Earl Warren:

Number 60, Nick Jankovich and Paul Jankovich, co-partners doing business as Calumet Aviation Company, Petitioners versus Indiana Toll Road Commission.

Mr. Dunau.

Bernard Dunau:

May it please the Court.

There are two questions in this case.

First, is a zoning ordinance which restricts the height of structures on land surrounding an airport for the purpose of maintaining safe and unobstructed aerial approaches, a taking of property which requires compensation and is therefore invalid.

Second -- the Federal Aviation Agency.

That's precisely what they call them in there too.

The second question is whether an independent and adequate state ground exists which precludes this Court from deciding whether airport zoning is a constitutional exercise of governmental power.

Now this is what happened.

In 1939, the City of Gary enacted an ordinance which declared that it needs shall acquire and operate an airport.

In 1947, they got the land for the operation of this airport.

They got it from the United States.

The grant from the United States read that the land was given for an inconsideration of the development and operation of the demised premises as a public airport in perpetuity and for the benefit which shall accrue to the United States from the continued use of such property as of airport.

There was to be automatic reversion of the title to the land to the United States if and in the event that the administrator of Civil Aeronautics or his successors determine that the premises have not been developed for airport purposes within a reasonable time or that after having been so developed, they seize to be used for airport purposes.

Gary promised that the airport will be operated as a public airport on fair and reasonable terms and without unjust discrimination.

In 1948, one year later, Gary adapted a master airport plan.

A plan called for the construction of three runways, an east-west runway which has not been constructed.

A northwest-southeast runway which has been constructed but is not involved in this proceeding and a north-south runway which has been constructed and is the runway, we are particularly concerned with.

In the construction of this airport, federal funds were used as well as municipal funds.

The federal funds were obtained as a result of a grant agreement between the Civil Aeronautics Administration, the predecessor of the F.A.A. and Gary, under the Federal Airport Act.

Now, in September of '49, about the time that airport construction was to begin, the City of Gary enacted an airport zoning ordinance.

This airport zoning ordinance which appears on the record of page 151, divided the land on which the airport was located as well as all surrounding land within a distance of two miles from the proposed end of the runway into four zones.

The zones were a turning zone, an outer area approach zone, an inner area approach zone and a transition zone.

In the turning zone, the height limitation was 150 feet.

The same height limitation pertained in the outer area approach zone.

A particular zone we are concerned with is the inner area approach zone and the ordinance read this way, inner area approach zone as indicated extending 6,000 feet from the end of the proposed runway not to exceed height greater than permitted of 40-to-1 slope.

Now, a 40-to-1 slope means that for every 40 feet that you go out horizontally, you go out one -- you go out one foot vertically.

If this is your end of your proposed runway, you go 40 feet this way, you then go one foot of that way.

Your glide angle is this line between the zero point and the one foot point.

Now this glide angle continues out on the same line until it reaches 100 of the 6,000 foot mark, of that point, you have 150 feet here and your glide angle on your inner area approach zone is this line in here.