Courts have both accepted and rejected neighborhood opposition as a factor in land use decision-making. The opinion of local residents opposing a zoning application can be an appropriate factor for a decision-making body when it reflects “logical and reasonable concerns.”10
Courts can also hold that generalized fears of neighboring property owners are not relevant to consideration of an application for a conditional use permit.11
Landowners can use a number of theories to challenge land use decisions that rely on neighborhood opposition. Reliance on neighborhood opposition can constitute arbitrary and capricious decision-making and thus deprive an applicant of substantive due process.12 Similarly, acceptance of neighborhood opposition can raise an equal protection objection. Although equal protection objections have always been possible, the Supreme Court in City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center13 elevated this possibility when it held that reliance on neighborhood opposition violated equal protection where the city denied a special permit for a group home for the mentally retarded. Appearing to raise the level of judicial skepticism applied when addressing land use decisions tainted with neighborhood opposition, the Court declared that the “mere negative attitudes” or “fear” of neighboring residents might not constitute a basis for a land use decision.14
This article addresses how courts have traditionally reviewed challenges to land use decisions based on neighborhood opposition as well as Cleburne’s effect, if any, on how courts handle this problem. Part II is a survey of neighborhood opposition cases. It explains how courts traditionally address challenges to land use decisions influenced by neighborhood opposition by looking at whether the neighborhood opposition provided the sole basis for the decision, or whether the opposition was substantiated by legitimate concerns. Part III discusses the Supreme Court’s reasoning in Cleburne, and whether it makes sense to apply the Court’s searching standard of review to other neighborhood opposition cases. Part IV surveys post-Cleburne neighborhood opposition case law to assess what impact, if any, that Cleburne has had on whether courts will scrutinize a local government’s decision in the face of neighborhood opposition. This article concludes by advocating a widespread application of the Cleburne framework to neighborhood opposition cases.
II. Neighborhood Opposition Cases
A. Cases Accepting Neighborhood Opposition as a Factor in Land Use Decision-making
Courts usually endorse a local government’s attempts to preserve the character of a community and find input of local residents a proper consideration in land use decision- making. For example, they find preserving the character of a community a valid justification for large-lot zoning ordinances,15 as well as ordinances banning big box retail stores.16 They also uphold design review ordinances that describe the “character of the surrounding neighborhood” as a benchmark standard.17 Similarly, courts hold that local governments should not give hardship variances where they “alter the essential character of the locality,”18 nor should they grant conditional uses unless consistent with the character of the district.19 The input of local residents in each of these land use cases provides the local decision-making body with insight into a locality’s characteristics, and consideration of resident opinions is integral to these processes.
Some courts give local decision-making bodies broad leniency to rely on neighborhood opposition when making decisions. In City of Hattiesburg v. McArthur,20 the court upheld a city council’s refusal to rezone a single-family residential district to a high-density residential district.21 The plaintiffs argued that the council’s decision was arbitrary and capricious because it responded to neighborhood disapproval not supported by real evidence. The court rejected this argument, holding that the local opponents voiced legitimate concerns regarding increased traffic and crime. The court further held that “giving substantial weight to homeowners’ testimonies regarding opposition to a nearby zoning change is not error.”22 The court justified its position by analogizing residential zoning districts to protective covenants agreements intended to protect homeowners from incompatible uses.23
Courts uphold land use decisions influenced by neighborhood opposition where the neighbors’ opinions were logical. In City of Lowell v. M & N Mobile Home Park,24 the court upheld a planning commission’s decision not to rezone an area to allow a mobile home park. The court explained that neighborhood opposition is an appropriate factor to consider in zoning cases only “when it reflects logical and reasonable concerns.”25 The public’s concerns about increased traffic and other issues was “logical and reasonable, constituted a legitimate factor in the legislative decision-making and should not have been disregarded by a court.”26
Courts also consider neighborhood opposition if based on concrete information. In SuperAmerica Group v. City of Little Canada,27 the court upheld the city’s denial of a conditional use permit to operate a gas station and convenience store facility.28 The court held the decision was not arbitrary and capricious, holding that “a city may consider neighborhood opposition if based on concrete information.”29 Local residents opposing the conditional use permit referenced “existing, daily traffic problems,” instead of “vague concern[s] about future neighborhood problems,” and the court found that the city properly considered these “concrete, current observations.”30
Even when local residents attempt to influence a land use decision by voicing their unsubstantiated concerns, a court will still uphold the decision when the decision-making body discounts the neighborhood opposition and instead bases its decision on other sufficient evidence. In Cingular Wireless, LLC v. Thurston County,31 the court rejected the argument that the city improperly relied on neighborhood opposition in denying a special use permit to erect a cellphone tower. Although there was evidence of “unfounded pecuniary and political charges” against the proposed use, it upheld the city’s denial because the city hearing examiner expressly discounted these “unsubstantiated neighborhood fears” and instead relied on substantiated concerns about incompatibility with the surrounding area and adverse aesthetic impacts.32
B. Cases Rejecting Neighborhood Opposition as a Factor in Land Use Decision-making
Cases reject denials based entirely on neighbor opposition. In Marks v. City of Chesapeake,33 the Fourth Circuit held as unconstitutional the denial of a conditional use permit to operate a palmistry. The court affirmed a finding that the city council acted arbitrarily and capriciously in violation of substantive due process by denying the permit application “solely in an effort to placate those members of the public who expressed ‘religious’ objections to the plaintiff ’s proposed use of his property.”34
Even when a land use decision is based on an attempt to avoid a decline in property values,35 courts will invalidate it if the decline is the result of unsubstantiated fears of neighboring residents. In Sunderland Family Treatment Services v. City of Pasco,36 the Supreme Court of Washington reversed a city’s denial of a special use permit for a group care facility for abused or neglected children.37 The court rejected the council’s finding that adjacent properties’ values would be impaired because of safety concerns associated with the group home, explaining that “there is an important distinction between well founded fears and those based on inaccurate stereotypes and popular prejudices. Courts have long held the latter cannot justify zoning restrictions.”38 The court held there was no evidence that the group home would affect the safety of residents in the area and that “[a]ny reduction in property values would be based on unsubstantiated fears with regard to teenagers from troubled families.”39 The court held this was neither “competent nor substantial” enough evidence to support the city’s decision.40
These cases indicate that, generally, neighborhood opposition is appropriate in land use decision-making if substantiated and not the sole basis for the decision, and courts will strike down an ordinance if supported only by a generalized animus of neighboring property owners. Although apparently providing a consistent framework, these cases differ in their treatment of how a court should review a land use decision to determine if it is impermissibly founded on unsubstantiated neighbor opposition. This problem is complicated because, in practice, a local government can easily try to shelter a decision based solely on neighborhood opposition from judicial review by indicating on the record that it implicated other, legitimate legislative goals. The question then arises of whether and to what extent a court can examine the motives of a municipality in cases where the municipality seems to be making a land use decision solely in response to neighborhood opposition. The Supreme Court offered an answer to this question in City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center.41
III. Neighborhood Opposition under Cleburne
Judicial reaction to neighborhood opposition changed substantially when the Supreme Court decided City of Cleburne v Cleburne Living Center42 in 1985. Cleburne involved neighbor opposition to a special use permit application to operate a group home for the mentally retarded.43 Zoning issues became an important issue for group homes with the widespread deinstitutionalization movement of mentally disabled and mentally ill persons that began in the 1960s and 1970s,44 and attempts to move these individuals to private residences. The deinstitutionalization movement met fierce resistance from neighborhood residents and local governments, and a widespread opposition to group homes developed.45 Although challenges to this opposition now occur principally under the 1988 amendments to the federal Fair Housing Act,46 supporters of group homes initially sued under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. These constitutional challenges provide guidance on how courts should apply the Equal Protection Clause in cases of neighborhood opposition to land uses.
A. Equal Protection Challenges Generally
Land use law disputes commonly feature challenges to a zoning ordinance because it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Equal Protection Clause requires that “all persons similarly circumstanced shall be treated alike.”47 This constitutional guarantee is often invoked in land use law because “the essence of many controls, particularly Euclidean zoning, is to classify land and people”48 A zoning ordinance is often challenged as violating equal protection by either unconstitutionally discriminating between different classes on its face, or because it is unconstitutionally applied by a municipality.49
Courts review equal protection claims under different standards depending on the type of group or interest affected. When legislation discriminates between individuals based on “suspect classifications” such as race, or targets a “fundamental right” such as freedom of speech, the courts apply a critical “strict scrutiny” standard of review.50 However, when legislation implicates neither a suspect classification nor a fundamental right, it is entitled to a strong presumption of validity and will not violate the Equal Protection Clause if there is a rational basis or a relationship between the disparity of treatment and a legitimate governmental purpose.51 Under this highly deferential “rational basis” test, the Supreme Court has gone so far as to recharacterize the purpose of a statute to make it acceptable and provide a justification that avoids under-inclusion and over-inclusion arguments.52 As a result, courts usually uphold statutes against an equal protection objection when assessed under the rational basis test.
An intermediate standard of judicial review exists for classifications that are “quasi- suspect.” This intermediate standard requires only that a legislative classification bear “a substantial rather than a necessary relationship to an important rather than a compelling governmental interest.”53 Quasi-suspect classifications include those based on gender54 or illegitimacy,55 while rational basis review generally applies to social and economic legislation.56 Courts typically review and uphold classifications found in a zoning ordinance under the rational basis test.57
In some cases where a court has ostensibly analyzed an equal protection challenge under the traditional rational basis test, it in fact applied a more scrutinizing standard of review. Commentators call this heightened rational basis review “rational basis with a bite.”58 In these cases, courts scrutinize the asserted purposes of a statute and strike it down if it fails to serve a legitimate governmental interest, thereby preventing a local government from imposing burdens on groups solely because they are politically unpopular.59 Furthermore, in rational basis with bite cases the court does not invent or provide rationales for a law, but “should ensure that the law is not a pretextual exercise of the government’s power.”60
Courts apply this heightened rational basis review standard in a variety of cases. Rational basis with bite is “triggered” when a challenged statute targets a group or classification that approaches without reaching quasi-suspect status, and implicates an important or significant — if not fundamental — right.61 The rational basis with bite analysis has appeared in non-economic cases involving laws directed against homosexual persons62 and illegal alien children.63 The Supreme Court also applied rational basis with bite to strike down seemingly economic regulations by distinguishing legislation intended to serve legitimate governmental purposes from “pretextual exercises of political power.”64
B. Equal Protection Analysis under Cleburne
A leading application of rational basis with bite is City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center,65 in which the Supreme Court considered an equal protection challenge to denial of a special permit for a group home. In Cleburne, the plaintiff intended to develop a group home and applied for a special use permit after being informed by the city that its proposed use was subject to local zoning regulations requiring a special use permit for the construction of “hospitals for the &hellilp; feeble-minded.”66 After holding a public hearing, the city council voted to deny the special use permit.67 Following this denial, the plaintiff-applicants filed suit to challenge the ordinance as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.68 The Supreme Court found an equal protection violation.69
The Supreme Court’s approach in Cleburne is a telling demonstration of how rational basis with bite relates to neighborhood opposition to zoning change. The Court first rejected intermediate scrutiny review. It held that mental retardation is not a quasi-suspect classification meriting intermediate scrutiny because mentally retarded individuals have “distinguishing characteristics relevant to interests the State has the authority to implement.”70 The Court should be “reluctant” to “closely scrutinize legislative choices as to whether, how, and to what extent those interests should be pursued.”71 It further noted that the multitudinous examples of state and federal legislation directed towards assisting the mentally retarded “indicates that governmental consideration of those differences in the vast majority of situations is not only legitimate but also desirable.”72 These pieces of legislation also “negate any claim that the mentally retarded are politically powerless in the sense that they have no ability to attract the attention of the lawmakers.”73 Lastly, the Court explained that it was not willing to classify the mentally retarded as quasi-suspect because it would, as a result, be difficult to distinguish other groups traditionally held to be of a quasi-suspect class.74
Even though the Court refused to apply intermediate scrutiny, it nonetheless analyzed the challenged statute under a higher level of scrutiny than that typically associated with traditional rational basis review.75 It described its version of rational basis review as one which “affords [the] government the latitude necessary both to pursue policies designed to assist the retarded in realizing their full potential, and to freely and efficiently engage in activities that burden the retarded in what is essentially an incidental manner.”76 However, a local government cannot “rely on a classification whose relationship to an asserted goal is so attenuated as to render the distinction arbitrary or irrational.”77 Nor can a local government pursue as a governmental objective “a bare … desire to harm a politically unpopular group.”78 In defining this standard of review, the Court departed from previous explanations of rational basis review by stating that it would closely scrutinize the challenged statute to ensure that it does not rely on an overly “attenuated” classification and not written with the sole desire of harming an unpopular group.
The Court applied this standard of review to hold that the challenged statute violated equal protection. Noting that the city’s ordinance required a special use permit for the plaintiff-applicant in a district that allowed other multiple-dwelling facilities79 as permitted uses, the Court held that there was no rational basis to believe that the group home at issue would pose a special threat to the city’s legitimate interests.80
The Court rejected the city’s argument that it had justifiably based its decision on neighborhood opposition. It held that the city council was concerned with the “negative attitude” of nearby property owners in making its decision to deny the special use permit.81 The Court rejected an argument that this was a permissible concern for the council, holding that “mere negative attitudes, or fear, unsubstantiated by factors which are properly cognizable in a zoning proceeding, are not permissible bases” for discriminating against a group home for the mentally retarded.82 The Court also found unavailing the city’s post hoc rationalizations that the group home at issue should be treated differently because of its location and density, explaining that the city failed to show why these factors affected the mentally retarded differently from other permitted multiple-dwelling uses.83
C. Cleburne Analyzed
Several elements of the Court’s reasoning in Cleburne mark its analysis as a heightened rational basis review standard as distinguished from traditional rational basis review. It did not attempt to save the ordinance by either recharacterizing its purpose or by supplying its own justification for treating a group home for the mentally retarded differently from other multiple-dwelling facilities. Instead, it closely scrutinized the city’s proffered justifications and found them insufficient. The Court thus struck down an ordinance that “surely would be valid under the traditional rational-basis test applicable to economic and commercial regulation.”84
The question of why the Court chose to employ rational basis with bite in this case is an interesting one. Surely, the mentally disabled are a group “approaching quasi-suspect status,” and the ordinance targeted the significant right of whether a person can freely choose where he or she lives.85 However, the Court explained extensively that it did not consider the mentally retarded to be a politically-disadvantaged, quasi-suspect group and was not deciding the case by applying intermediate scrutiny.86 Instead, the Court’s decision in Cleburne could be read to suggest that rational basis with bite is appropriate where there is evidence that a legislature has made a decision based on an inappropriate governmental purpose, like the “mere negative attitudes, or fear” of nearby property owners found in neighborhood opposition cases.87 This holding extends beyond protecting only vulnerable group homes to neighborhood opposition zoning cases generally.
Applying this heightened standard of rational basis review in neighborhood opposition zoning cases makes sense for a number of reasons. A local land use decision that coincides with the presence of vocal, unsubstantiated neighborhood opposition likely evidences a defect in the zoning process in which the decision-making body did not act in furtherance of a legitimate governmental purpose but instead arbitrarily yielded to the wishes of constituents.88 Cleburne appears to acknowledge this risk, and in response suggests that the presence of neighborhood opposition merits application of the less deferential rational basis with bite. Thus, courts can apply heightened rational basis review to reveal and overturn land use decisions impermissibly made in response to the unsubstantiated negative attitude and fears of neighborhood opponents.89
IV. How Cleburne Has Influenced Neighborhood Opposition Case Law
The response to Cleburne is varied. Some courts are willing to apply rational basis with bite to neighborhood opposition cases while others insist on reviewing zoning legislation with traditional rational basis review deference. The cases that follow Cleburne have mostly extended it to challenges of legislation that target vulnerable or politically unpopular groups; developers asserting economic interests have failed to convince courts to apply rational basis with bite to their equal protection challenges.90 A court is more likely to apply Cleburne’s heightened rational basis review when neighbor opposition to a particular group influences a decision than where the opposition targets an economic land use.91
A. Neighborhood Opposition Cases Following Cleburne
Courts have extended Cleburne’s heightened rational basis review standard to similar restrictive ordinances, such as ordinances restricting community treatment centers intended to facilitate the reintegration of federal offenders into society. In Bannum v. City of Louisville,92 for example, the Sixth Circuit applied what it described as Cleburne’s “exacting rational relationship standard”93 and held that requiring a special use permit for the proposed community treatment center violated equal protection.94 The court first found that the city had not shown that the occupants of the community treatment center would be more likely to commit crimes, which was the city’s “one major justification” for the differential treatment.95 The court then held that this lack of evidence for the city’s contention that crime would increase, in addition to “evidence in the record of substantial community opposition” to the proposed community treatment center, indicated that the purpose behind treating the proposed use differently was to satisfy neighboring property owners.96 As a result, the challenged regulation did not satisfy the “exacting rational relationship standard found in Cleburne” and deprived the plaintiff-applications of equal protection.97
Similarly, courts use the rational basis with bite standard applied in Cleburne to strike down ordinances restricting other vulnerable uses, such as substance abuse rehabilitation centers operated by religious institutions. In Open Homes Fellowship v. Orange County,98 the court determined that an ordinance requiring a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center to apply for a special permit violates equal protection. After citing Cleburne, the court rejected in turn the county’s arguments that its ordinance justifiably protected the county’s interest in safety, traffic and trash control, intensity of use, and general prevention of disruption to the neighborhood.99 In rejecting the county’s vague assertions of safety concerns, the court found that “the County appeared to base its safety concerns on the unsubstantiated negative attitudes of community opponents [… and] improperly deferred to the objections of a fraction of the body politic and illegally gave these biases effect.”100
B. The Supreme Court’s Limitation of Cleburne and How it Affects Zoning Cases
The Supreme Court placed limits on Cleburne in Board of Trustees v. Garrett, a 2001 case concerning discrimination against disabled State employees.101 In Garrett, the Court found that plaintiffs, employees of the State of Alabama, were not entitled to recover damages for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.102 In dictum, the Court limited Cleburne by stating that it does not “stand for the broad proposition that state decision-making reflecting “negative attitudes” or “fear” necessarily runs afoul of the Fourteenth Amendment.”103 Instead, according to the Court, Cleburne merely repeated the “unremarkable and widely acknowledged tenet” that under rational basis review state action must rationally further the governmental purpose.104 The Court further explained that though negative attitudes of local opponents “may often accompany irrational (and therefore unconstitutional) discrimination, their presence alone does not a constitutional violation make.”105
Garrett has limited the application of Cleburne in land use cases. For example, in City of Los Angeles v. County of Kern,106 the court held that an ordinance banning land application of biosolids in certain areas of the county did not violate equal protection. The ordinance was a response to a large public initiative campaign directed to prohibit biosolid land application in the county.107 The court rejected arguments that the county’s stated purposes were pretextual, and cited Garrett as support for its holding that “though animus may have been a significant element of the campaign [to pass the challenged ordinance], that fact alone does not establish a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.”108
Other courts refused to extend Cleburne’s heightened rational basis review to neighborhood opposition cases, effectively following Garrett’s dictum by reading Cleburne in a similarly narrow way.109 In Bannum, Inc. v. City of Fort Lauderdale,110 the Eleventh Circuit rejected an argument that the city violated equal protection by denying a special use permit for a community treatment center for former prisoners. The plaintiff-applicants in that case argued that the ordinance requiring a special use permit for the community treatment was unconstitutionally applied because the city’s decision was motivated by “negative attitudes and irrational fears” about the center’s participants.111 The court rejected this argument and found that the city’s decision did not constitute an equal protection violation when reviewed under rational basis scrutiny.112 Moreover, the Court expressly found that Cleburne did not “undermine” its holding, because “community input was not the sole reason for the City’s actions,” notwithstanding evidence that the community’s negative attitudes may have influenced the city’s decision.113
Other courts have refused to apply rational basis with bite even when irrational fear and prejudice motivated an ordinance. In DeSisto College v. Town of Howey-in-the-Hills,114 the court found, at the summary judgment stage, that an ordinance restricting a college from serving learning-disabled students in residential districts did not violate equal protection. The town adopted ordinances establishing that the proposed college was not a permitted use in residential areas after a number of the town’s citizens and government officials “made derogatory statements at public gatherings, public meetings, private meetings, and in newspaper interviews concerning DeSisto College and the students at the College.”115 The court found these allegations of community animus irrelevant to its equal protection analysis, because “the motivations of the lawmakers,” including whether they were acting in response to neighbor opposition, is “not material” to the question of whether legislation is supported by a rational basis.116 It upheld the ordinance because preservation of the residential character of the town provided the defendants with the required “one legitimate governmental purpose for their legislation.”117 In making its finding, the court expressly rejected the plaintiff ’s argument that under Cleburne it must apply a more searching review than the typical rational basis test, instead “disagree[ing] with plaintiffs’ reading of Cleburne” and holding that Cleburne did not expressly create a “new ‘enhanced rational basis’ review.”118
A court also applied traditional rational basis review instead of rational basis with bite when a city restricted the religious use of land because of neighborhood opposition. A zoning ordinance requiring a conditional use permit to build a church in certain residential districts did not violate equal protection in Christian Gospel Church, Inc. v. City of San Francisco.119 The Ninth Circuit applied rational basis review and, in response to the plaintiff-applicant’s argument that neighborhood opposition was the true reason it did not get a conditional use permit, the court held that “neighborhood opposition to the granting of a conditional use permit is not unlawful and should be considered by the Planning Commission.”120 The Court thus held that the ordinance did not violate equal protection either as-applied to the particular church in question or facially by requiring conditional use permits for churches.121
Among the land use cases that have refused to apply Cleburne, some seem to suggest that Cleburne’s rational basis with bite might have been appropriate had the plaintiff provided evidence of neighborhood opposition. These cases include equal protection challenges to ordinances targeting groups and social interests,122 as well as challenges to economic regulations.123
C. Comparing Cleburne and the Garrett Dictum
Arguably, the Court’s conclusion in Garrett could be correct and still not diminish the impact of Cleburne on neighborhood opposition cases. Even if the presence of negative attitudes of neighborhood opponents “does not a constitutional violation make,”124 it is still true that merely or solely relying on unsubstantiated neighborhood fears is arbitrary and necessarily violative of equal protection. The significance of Cleburne is how it determined that the city was acting arbitrarily; the Court did not simply defer to the legislature but instead scrutinized its asserted justifications to find that “requiring the permit in this case appears to [ …] rest on an irrational prejudice against the mentally retarded.”125 Even in the face of Garrett’s limitation, one could still read Cleburne as a direction for courts to apply rational basis with bite when analyzing land use decisions tainted by neighborhood opposition.126 To the extent that the dictum in Garrett stands for the proposition that Cleburne does not permit a more searching rational basis review in neighborhood opposition cases, the dictum should not be followed. Cleburne’s heightened standard of rational basis review provides a means by which courts can ensure that land use decisions are not merely reflections of local residents’ negative attitudes and unsubstantiated fears.127 Denying courts this mechanism of heightened judicial scrutiny leaves groups and interests that fall short of being entitled to intermediate scrutiny exposed to the irrational attitudes of neighborhood opponents.
In some circumstances, neighborhood opposition reflects the substantiated concerns of local property owners and offers a valuable insight into a community’s land use character. A municipality may properly consider these opinions in deciding whether to permit zoning or other land use changes. Neighborhood opposition also creates the risk for irrational and unconstitutional land use decision-making. Challenging a zoning change as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is a valuable means to ensure that local governments do not base their land use decisions solely on neighborhood opposition. Courts uphold land use decisions against equal protection challenges despite neighborhood opposition when the opposition was not the sole factor and neighbors voiced legitimate concerns. These decisions leave open the question of how a court is supposed to decide when a local government is unconstitutionally basing its land use decision on neighborhood opposition in the face of claims that the municipality based its decision on other permissible governmental purposes.
The high level of deference granted to legislatures under the traditional rational basis standard does not give courts the opportunity necessary to inquire adequately into a local government’s reasons for a zoning decision. Cleburne’s more searching rational basis standard of review provides a mechanism by which courts can properly analyze neighborhood opposition cases to determine whether they violate equal protection. Neighborhood opposition cases following Cleburne’s approach allow searching analysis of evidence to determine when a land use decision is in fact an impermissible response to neighborhood opposition. This increased judicial skepticism ensures that local governments irrationally basing their decisions solely on the desires of an overly vocal segment of their constituents will get an effective judicial review.