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Monday, November 12, 2012

Supreme Court Schedules Argument in Takings Case

The U.S. Supreme Court scheduled oral arguments for January 15, 2013 in a case involving a property takings claim.   Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District.   This is one of the first takings cases that the Supreme Court has taken in quite some time so this case will be closely watched by local governments and property owners and advocates. 

In 1994, Koontz sought to develop land lying within a Riparian Habitat Protection Zone in Florida.  Because most of the property was wetlands, Koontz was required to obtain a permit from the St. Johns River Water Management District.  In order to mitigate the impact from the development, the District required Koontz to reduce the scale of his proposed development;  restore and enhance at least 50 acres of wetlands on a parcel 4.5 miles away; or perform similar off-site mitigation at a site seven miles away.  Koontz was also asked to perform on-site mitigation through a conservation easement or deed restriction on the rest of his property.  

Koontz rejected each of the District’s proposals and instead of providing a counteroffer to the District, filed a lawsuit.  Koontz is asking the Court to rule that the St. Johns River Water Management District is liable for a taking of real property requiring compensation after Koontz and the District could not agree on the mitigation measures.  The District claims that the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction because the plaintiff made only state law claims.  The District also claims that the plaintiff could have collaborated with the District to find a mitigation alternative but refused to do so.  The District argues that the takings analysis of Nollan and Dolan do not apply to the denial of Koontz's permit because no dedication of land was required and no damages were incurred.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink.


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