Florida: Koontz spurs possible legislative fix to extortion

February 26, 2014 | By PAUL BEARD

As our Managing Attorney for Hawaii, Robert Thomas, reports, a bill (HR 1077) is making its way through the Florida Legislature that would prohibit local governments from imposing any kind of exaction (including monetary ones) on land-use permit applicants, unless the exaction bears an essential nexus and rough proportionality to the impact of the project in question.

In essence, the bill would codify two Supreme Court decisions: Nollan v. California Coastal Commission (which requires an “essential nexus” and which, incidentally, PLF argued and won at the Supreme Court), and Dolan v. City of Tigard (which requires “rough proportionality”).

HB 1077 is an obvious response to PLF’s recent Supreme Court victory in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District (2013). In Koontz, the Court made clear that even monetary exactions imposed in the land-use permit context–and not just real-property dedications–must satisfy Nollan and Dolan’s “essential nexus” and “rough proportionality” requirements. The Court reversed the Florida Supreme Court, which had held that monetary exactions are exempt from such requirements.

If HB 1077 becomes law, it will provide additional, statutory protection to land-use permit applicants in Florida (above and beyond federal constitutional protections under Nollan and Dolan) who face extortionate demands from local governments.