City of Edmonds v. Oxford House, Inc., 514 U.S. 725, 8 (1995)

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Opinion of the Court

ment of policy" is sensibly read "narrowly in order to preserve the primary operation of the [policy]." Commissioner v. Clark, 489 U. S. 726, 739 (1989).5


Congress enacted 3607(b)(1) against the backdrop of an evident distinction between municipal land-use restrictions and maximum occupancy restrictions.

Land-use restrictions designate "districts in which only compatible uses are allowed and incompatible uses are excluded." D. Mandelker, Land Use Law 4.16, pp. 113- 114 (3d ed. 1993) (hereinafter Mandelker). These restrictions typically categorize uses as single-family residential, multiple-family residential, commercial, or industrial. See, e. g., 1 E. Ziegler, Jr., Rathkopf's The Law of Zoning and Planning 8.01, pp. 8-2 to 8-3 (4th ed. 1995); Mandelker 1.03, p. 4; 1 E. Yokley, Zoning Law and Practice 7-2, p. 252 (4th ed. 1978).

Land-use restrictions aim to prevent problems caused by the "pig in the parlor instead of the barnyard." Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U. S. 365, 388 (1926). In particular, reserving land for single-family residences preserves the character of neighborhoods, securing "zones where family values, youth values, and the blessings of quiet

5 The dissent notes Gregory v. Ashcroft, 501 U. S. 452 (1991), as an instance in which the Court did not tightly cabin an exemption contained in a statute proscribing discrimination. See post, at 743-744. Gregory involved an exemption in the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 81 Stat. 602, as amended, 29 U. S. C. 621-634, covering state and local elective officials and "appointee[s] on the policymaking level." 630(f). The question there was whether state judges fit within the exemption. We held that they did. A state constitutional provision, not a local ordinance, was at stake in Gregory—a provision going "beyond an area traditionally regulated by the States" to implicate "a decision of the most fundamental sort for a sovereign entity." 501 U. S., at 460. In that light, the Court refused to attribute to Congress, absent plain statement, any intent to govern the tenure of state judges. Nothing in today's opinion casts a cloud on the soundness of that decision.

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