New Takings Case Argued Before the Supreme Court

William Fulton examines the likely outcome of a takings case that went before the U.S. Supreme Court last week. Oral arguments seemed to indicate the justices were leaning towards a surprising outcome.
Phil Roeder / Flickr

"If the oral argument is any indication, the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to rule against a landowner in Florida who filed a takings lawsuit against an Orlando-area water district – turning what appeared to be an easy victory for property rights advocates into a loss," says Fulton.

The case before the court - Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District - revolves around "the question of whether a property owner’s refusal to provide offsite mitigation in exchange for a permit is a taking." For those of you that remember your planning law training, you may recall the precedent cited in earlier rulings on the case: "so-called Nollan/Dolan test, which states that exactions are permissible if there is a 'rational nexus' (Nollan) and 'rough proportionality' between impact and exaction (Dollan)."

According to Fulton, based on his line of questioning during the proceedings, "it appears that Justice Antonin Scalia – author of the important Nollan v. California Coastal Commission ruling a quarter-century ago – will swing the court against the property owners and toward a more cautious takings approach."

"Indeed, the veteran conservative justice – who has sounded more political than scholarly in many recent writings – fell back to the settled positions of the 1980s and ‘90s, when the Supreme Court concluded that a taking occurs only when all other options have been exhausted. Clearly, in this case, he believed they had not been."

Full Story: Rip Van Winkle Scalia Wakes Up in Koontz


Brand new! Urban Grid City Collection

Each city has its own unique story. Commemorate where you came from or where you want to go.
Grids and Guide Red book cover

Grids & Guides

A notebook for visual thinkers. Available in red and black.

Get the "Green Bible" of educational planning books

Understand the complexities of planning at the local level while preparing for the AICP* exam. Find out why this edition is included in the APA's recommended reading list.
City Plate table setting

New Arrival! City Plates

City downtown cores printed on gorgeous decorative collectible porcelain plates.