July 23, 2013

PLF attorneys discuss Koontz at property rights roundtable

By Brian T. Hodges Senior Attorney

Last week, PLF staff attorney Daniel Himebaugh and I participated in roundtable discussion about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Koontz v. St. John’s River Water Management District, and the decision’s potential impact in Washington. The roundtable was hosted by our friends at the Freedom Foundation and a Vancouver-based community web news channel, couv.com.

The discussion clocks in at just over 30 mins, and goes into some depth about current property rights disputes.


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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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