U.S. Supreme Court’s Koontz Decision Seemingly Broadened Landowner Protection in the Realm of Regulatory Takings Law, While Leaving Several Intriguing Questions Unanswered


Most media coverage of the Supreme Court’s recently concluded term focused on cases dealing with marriage equality, affirmative action, and voting rights. In the noise created by that backdrop, a significant land use case attracted less notice than it probably deserved. Among other things, that case applied the teachings of Nollan v. California Coastal Commission (1987) 483 U.S. 825 and Dolan v. City of Tigard (1994) 512 U.S. 3742 to fee exaction cases when many state cases, including those in California, have held that those cases do not apply to anything other than exactions of interest in property imposed as a condition to permit approval of other entitlements.

Overview of Nollan-Dolan’s Nexus and Rough Proportionality Analysis –

A brief summary helps to place the case in context. In Nollan, the Supreme Court held that a governmental agency could not require dedication of a property interest as a condition to approval of a permit unless the exaction had a reasonable connection-or nexus- with the impact the approved project would cause. This differs from exaction where a local governing body seeks to impose easements or other dedications required to rectify a pre-existing condition, rather than a condition caused by the project being permitted.

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