SCOTUS: FL City Forbids Owner from Developing Property, Without Just Compensation
WASHINGTON, DC: Southeastern Legal Foundation, joined by NFIB Small Business Legal Center, filed a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief supporting a Florida landowner who has been forced to maintain his land as a de facto nature preserve for the public’s benefit, without any opportunity for compensation.
More specifically, decades ago, the Beyer family purchased a 9-acre piece of property in the Florida Keys. Years later, they lost all rights to develop the island because local officials designated the land as a bird rookery. The Fifth Amendment prohibits government from taking private property without paying just compensation. In an attempt to avoid actually paying the Beyers just compensation, local officials granted them non-monetary credits that may (theoretically) have future value.
This left the Beyers with no economically beneficial use of their property and “credits” that may or may not be applied to future development of land that the Beyers may or may not ever purchase. Completely ignoring Supreme Court precedent, the lower court found that since the credits may have some future value, no takings occurred. In other words, it found the local government’s scheme to avoid paying just compensation to be constitutional. In our amicus brief, we urge the Supreme Court to grant certiorari and revisit its earlier cases (many of which are landmark property rights cases in which SLF participated in its 42-year history) to make clear that the government cannot avoid paying just compensation by creating a theoretical residual value. Please check back for updates on the status of the petition and whether the Court agrees to hear the case.
Click here for the SLF/NFIB Supreme Court amicus brief