Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tahoe-Sierra Pres. Council v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency case brief

Tahoe-Sierra Pres. Council v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency case brief summary
535 U.S. 302

SYNOPSIS: Petitioners, landowners near a pristine lake, sued defendant regional planning agency, alleging that the development moratoria ordered by the agency constituted an unlawful taking of the landowners' property without compensation. On petition for a writ of certiorari, the landowners challenged the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit which reversed the district court's finding that a taking occurred.

-The agency imposed the temporary moratoria to maintain the status quo while studying the impact of development near a popular resort lake and designing an environmentally sound growth strategy.
-The landowners contended that the moratoria against all viable economic use of their properties imposed a constitutional obligation on the agency to compensate the landowners for the value of its use during the moratoria.

The United State Supreme Court held, however, that the mere enactment of the regulations implementing the moratoria did not constitute a per se taking of the landowners' property.

Rather, whether a taking occurred depended upon consideration of the landowners' investment-backed expectations, the actual impact of the regulation on the landowners, the importance of the public interest involved, and the reasons for imposing the temporary restriction.
-Adoption of a categorical rule that any deprivation of all economic use, no matter how brief, constituted a compensable taking would impose unreasonable financial obligations upon governments for the normal delays involved in processing land use applications and would improperly encourage hasty decision making.

OUTCOME: The Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court's judgment, reversing the finding that an unconstitutional taking occurred.

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