Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District

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Today the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a potentially important takings case, Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District. In this case, a landowner is challenging the state’s refusal to grant a permit to develop wetlands unless the landowner agreed to various conditions, including the performance of off-site mitigation. When the landowner refused, the agency refused to grant the permit and the landowner sued, claiming that the conditions the government sought to impose violated the rough proportionality requirement of Nollan and Dolan. Although he prevailed in the lower courts, the Florida Supreme Court reversed, concluding that (among other things) that the rough proportionality requirement did not apply to off-site mitigation requirements or to situations where a permit is never issued. Given the issues involved, Koontz could have a major effect on environmental mitigation requirements and land-use regulation at all levels of government.

Ilya Somin previewed Koontz and Greenwire covered the case when the Court granted cert. For more on the case, here are comments by Richard Epstein and — from a quite different perspective — Richard Frank. One thing all would agree on, however, is that this could be a very important case — easily the most important property rights case heard by the Roberts Court to date.

UPDATE: The Pacific Legal Foundation represents the landowner in this case, and there are quiet a few posts on Koontz on the PLF blog. (PLF also represented the Sacketts in Sackett v. EPA from last term.)

On the other side of the case, Doug Kendall of the Constitutional Accountability Center comments here. CAC was formerly know as Community rights Counsel, an organization that reliably opposed regulatory takings claims in federal courts.

Cross-posted from The Volokh Conspiracy.

Jonathan Adler is Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law & Regulation at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He is a prolific scholar, publishing on such topics as regulatory takings, water marketing, fisheries management, and the judicial limits of federal environmental regulation. He is the author,...
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