On June 25, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court release its decision in Koontz v. St. John's River Water Managment District. Koontz has been called the most significant takings case since Kelo v. City of New London and has been hailed by property rights advocates as a major victory for property owners. Writing for the 5-4 majority, Justice Alito wrote that property owners cannot be compelled to agree to an over-reaching demand by a public agency in order to obtain approval for a project. All the justices, including the four dissenting justices, agreed that refusing to grant a development permit unless a property owner agreed to an unconstitutional condition was no different from granting the development permit on the condition that the over-reaching government deman was later satisfied. This holding was not terribly controversial. An extorionate demand by a government agency is not different if it is phrased "if you agree to this condition, then the permit is granted" than if it is phrased "the permit is granted, but only if this condition is later satisfied."
The second proposition decided by the Court was more controversial. The Court held that monetary exactions must satisfy the same “essential nexus” and “rough proportionality” standards as government demands for dedications of property. The majority held that whether a property owner is required to dedicate land, or make an in lieu monetary payment of the same value, the impacts are the same. Either exaction must pass the Nollan/Dolan standards. The four dissenting justices took issue with this holding.
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