January 9, 2013

Koontz seeking justice at the Supreme Court

By Christina M. Martin Attorney

On Tuesday, January 15, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear PLF’s case Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District.


Yesterday, we filed the reply brief, explaining:

This kind of heavy handedness—exacting as much property out of a permit applicant as needed or wanted—will persist, so long as agencies know there is no Takings Clause limitation on their power. Trusting agencies to do the right thing is not the answer; making Nollan and Dolan review available to individuals faced with coercive property exactions—whatever their form and regardless of their timing—is.

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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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