Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District

Brief Of Amici Curiae Institute For Justice And The CATO Institute In Support Of Petitioner


Coy Koontz, a Florida land owner, was denied a permit to develop his commercial property because he would not agree to use his money and labor to improve 50 acres of government-owned land miles away from his land. Improving this distant land was the price Koontz would have to pay for the "privilege" of developing his property. Such exactions by local governments are unfortunately common. The Supreme Court has ruled, however, that when a government requires such an extra expenditure as a condition for developing property there must be some connection between the extra expenditure and the proposed project. For example, if someone applies for a permit to develop their land in a way that impedes water runoff, the government may require her to build drainage infrastructure elsewhere before they grant her the permit. But if a court determines that a government condition has no essential connection to the permit sought by the landowner, then the exaction is a taking under the Fifth Amendment for which just compensation must be paid. Coy Koontz never agreed to the government's conditions, thus he was denied his permit. He then brought suit claiming that the denial of the permit was a taking itself. He won at the trial and appellate levels, but the Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of the government agency, holding that U.S. Supreme Court precedent applied only to land and not to personal property (i.e. Koontz's money and labor). Cato has joined the Institute for Justice in an amicus brief arguing that the government should not be allowed to withhold permit approvals simply because Koontz refused to accede to the government's unlawful conditions. We argue that the requirement that there be some connection between the government condition and the proposed project should apply equally to both land and personal property. Otherwise, local governments are tempted to hold land hostage in exchange for landowners completing the pet projects of lawmakers. We list many such abuses, including times when landowners were required to build parks and even fire stations in exchange for permits to develop their lands. The Court should affirm that such widespread abuses are also unconstitutional takings.

Please see full brief below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

Written by:

Published In:

Reference Info:Appellate Brief | Federal, U.S. Supreme Court | United States

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Cato Institute | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.