Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP Client Alert

In a major property rights decision this week, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Takings Clause of the United States Constitution protects property owners against “coercive monetary exactions” by government agencies as a condition of obtaining land use development permits and approvals.

The Court’s 5-4 decision in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District (11-1447) reverses an earlier Florida Supreme Court ruling that the property owner could be denied a development permit because he refused to expend significant funds to improve 50 acres of government-owned property located miles away from his land, government property which bore no relationship to the proposed development project.

The Koontz decision is important in that it establishes two significant legal principles:

Greenbaum litigation partner Daniel L. Schmutter led a team of the firm’s lawyers, including partners John J. Reilly and John H. Hague, in representing The Land Use Institute, a New York based think tank, as Amicus Curiae in support of petitioner Koontz in this case.