January 24, 2014

Koontz on Fox & Friends this a.m.

By James S. Burling Vice President for Litigation

I appeared this morning (3:20 a.m PST, 6:20 PST) with Coy Koontz, Jr., on Fox & Friends to discuss the continuation of his case.  After his victory in the U.S. Supreme Court last year, his case was sent back down to the Florida courts.  Right now, St. Johns Water Management district is doing its level best to relitigate issues already decided in order to avoid making things right.  Specifically, the trial court had awarded damages under a Florida statute for the period of time that it unlawfully refused to allow Coy Koontz, Sr.,  to develop his property for want of agreeing to the demand that he spend up to $150,000 to fix up government property miles away. The District simply is trying to do anything possible to outlast the second generation of the Koontz family as it carries on the fight. On Fox & Friends Coy expressed his frustration that the government continues to evade its responsibility to make his family whole.

Update: you can watch the video here.



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St. Johns River Water Management District v. Koontz

Coy A. Koontz sought to develop commercial land, most of which lies within a riparian habitat protection zone in Orange County, Florida. He applied for a dredge and fill permit with the St. Johns Water Management District, which  agreed to grant the permit only on the condition that he place a conservation easement over his land, and perform mitigation off-site by replacing culverts and plugging certain drainage canals on distant District-owned properties. When Koontz refused to perform the off-site mitigation, St. Johns denied the permit. PLF successfully represented Koontz before the U.S. Supreme Court, which held that a land-use agency cannot condition a permit on the payment of a mitigation fee to be used to pay for facilities that have no connection to the impacts of the permitted development.

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