(Lutheran Church v. County of Los Angeles case summary)
-The Plaintiff purchased land on which it operated a campground, which was known as “Lutherglen.”
-The land was located in a canyon along the banks of a creek that was the natural drainage channel for a watershed area, adjoined by the National Forest.
-During 1978, a flood destroyed Lutherglen’s buildings.
-In 1978, in response to the flood, appellee Los Angeles County, adopted an interim ordinance prohibiting the construction or reconstruction of any building or structure in an interim flood protection area that included the land on which Lutherglen had stood.
Facts from justia.com:
In 1957, appellant church purchased land on which it operated a campground, known as "Lutherglen," as a retreat center and a recreational area for handicapped children. The land is located in a canyon along the banks of a creek that is the natural drainage channel for a watershed area. In 1978, a flood destroyed Lutherglen's buildings. In response to the flood, appellee Los Angeles County, in 1979, adopted an interim ordinance prohibiting the construction or reconstruction of any building or structure in an interim flood protection area that included the land on which Lutherglen had stood. Shortly after the ordinance was adopted, appellant filed suit in a California court, alleging, inter alia, that the ordinance denied appellant all use of Lutherglen, and seeking to recover damages in inverse condemnation for such loss of use. The court granted a motion to strike the allegation, basing its ruling on Agins v. Tiburon, 24 Cal.3d 266, 598 P.2d 25, aff'd on other grounds, 447 U. S. 255, in which the California Supreme Court held that a landowner may not maintain an inverse condemnation suit based upon a "regulatory" taking, and that compensation is not required until the challenged regulation or ordinance has been held excessive in an action for declaratory relief or a writ of mandamus and the government has nevertheless decided to continue the regulation in effect. Because appellant alleged a regulatory taking and sought only damages, the trial court deemed the allegation that the ordinance denied all use of Lutherglen to be irrelevant. The California Court of Appeal affirmedIssue: Does the Just Compensation Clause requires the Govt to pay for “temporary,” regulatory takings of private property?
Holding: Yes, the government must pay for temporary, regulatory takings of private property.
Procedural History: The Plaintiff sought reverse condemnation and tort damages from county, the Defendant moved to strike, Superior Court struck the complaint; CA Court of Appeals Affirmed; CA Supreme Court denied review; United States Supreme Court Reversed and Remanded.
Rule(s): Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.
“Results in an alteration in the property interest taken- from one of full ownership to one of temporary use and occupation . .” require that “compensation would be measured by the principles normally governing the taking of a right to use property temporarily.” Though temporary compensation is required for the Government’s interference with the use of the property.
-Where the burden on the property owner in extinguishing a leasehold interest for a period of years results from govt action amounting to a taking, the Just Comp Clause requires that the government pay the landowner for the value of the use during that period.
“It is the owner’s loss, not the taker’s gain, which is the measure of the value.”
-Where the government’s activities have already worked a taking of all use of property, no subsequent action by the government can relieve it of the duty to provide compensation for the period during the taking was effective.
-Invalidation of the ordinance without fair compensation for the value of the use during the period would be constitutionally insufficient.
Plaintiff’s Argument: From 1978 until 1985 the ordinance effectively denied the Plaintiff's use of their property without compensation.
Defendant’s Argument: The ordinance was passed to protect the health and safety of the public and was later abandoned by the county.
Dissent: If the sovereign chooses not to retain the regulation, repeal will, in virtually all cases, mitigate the overall effect of the regulation so substantially that the slight diminution in value cannot be classified as a taking of the property. Regulatory takings and physical takings are very different. A regulatory program that adversely affects property values does not constitute a taking unless it destroys a major portion of the property’s value. Only the most extreme regulations can constitute takings.
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