How much property can the Government take without paying just compensation?
According to a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the federal Government can take up to at least 58.4% in economic value of private property without incurring the constitutional obligation to pay the owner compensation for a taking. In Lost Tree Village Corp. v. United States, No. 08-117L, the property owner sought a wetlands fill permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a 4.99 acre tract of land (Plat 57) bordering a cove on the Indian River in east central Florida. Lost Tree is a residential land development company located near North Palm Beach, Florida. The land owner argued that the Corps’ denial of a wetland permit rendered Plat 57 without any value whatsoever. But the Government disagreed, arguing that the court must look at Plat 57 in context of Lost Tree’s overall development master plan. In that context, the court concluded that Lost Tree could not show a total taking necessary to establish liablity. As the Court explained: “A partial taking may be compensable under Penn Central, but not all diminutions in value constitute partial regulatory takings. . . . A diminution in value of 58.4%, while not insignificant, ordinarily falls short of a compensable takings under Supreme Court and Federal Circuit precedent.”
Please see full Order and Opinion below for more information.
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