The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition to hear a developer’s case against the Florida Department of Environmental Protection over a permit denial for a beachfront parcel. The case relates to a DEP denial of a final permit for a project to build 17 luxury townhouse units on an oceanfront site. After the DEP’s decision, the developer lost the property through foreclosure, and a principal at the firm ended up with a roughly $10 million personal judgment, which prompted the firm to sue the DEP and claim the denial was a regulatory taking. The company won at the trial court level, but the Fourth District Court of Appeal last year held the case was in part “unripe” because the developer could have considered an alternative development plan. The Florida Supreme Court declined to revive the decision in March.

To address the homeless crisis, NY City will acquire buildings that house homeless families to convert them to affordable housing, using with legal force if necessary. It has stated that it will use eminent domain if necessary.

The city has rented apartments in private buildings to house homeless families since the Giuliani administration. On Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio said the city would buy 25 to 30 of the buildings where more than 50 percent of the occupants are homeless and turn them into permanent, affordable housing. The city said it will use eminent domain if the owners don’t agree to sell.

About 3,000 homeless New Yorkers live in the buildings the city plans to buy, and they will be able to stay in those apartments.

A NJ appellate court ruled that the state’s Sports and Exposition Authority had the right to use eminent domain to acquire a landfill to continue solid waste disposal there. The Court held that the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority could use eminent domain to acquire the Keegan landfill. The agency also was not obligated to honor the terms of a prior agreement with the town of Kearny to turn the landfill into a public recreation space, dismissing the municipality’s allegations that the agency violated the U.S. Constitution’s contract clause. “NJSEA did not violate the Contract Clause as it was duly authorized to use eminent domain to condemn the landfill,” the decision states. “[I]t exercised that authority in furtherance of one of its stated purposes; and eminent domain is an essential attribute of state sovereignty that cannot be contracted away.” The case is New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority v. Town of Kearny et al., case number A-5152-15T1, in the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division.

A New Mexico utility has filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal of a decision precluding it from condemning land for a power line because the Navajo Nation held an interest in that property. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals held there is no federal law permitting tribal lands to be condemned. That Court affirmed a lower court’s decision.

The Public Service Co. of New Mexico, also known as PNM, told the Supreme Court in a Nov. 20 petition that the ruling threatens the national power grid by effectively blocking Congress’ authorization of condemnation of allotted tribal lands. “In sum, the increasing need for condemnation to maintain and extend critical infrastructure will converge with the increasing unavailability of condemnation, and thus create a major problem for utilities and the public,” the company said.

The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that the city of Marietta violated the Georgia Landowner’s Bill of Rights when it condemned a grocery store without providing a summary of its appraisal to the property owner. The City argued that these provisions were not mandatory. This was rejected by a unanimous Court explaining that the law is “an essential prerequisite to the filing of a petition to condemn,” and that because the city failed to fulfill that prerequisite, its petition to condemn the property must be dismissed.

 

The Louisiana Supreme Court heard oral arguments whether St. Bernard Parish port officials violated Louisiana’s eminent domain laws when they seized a privately run port operation along a mile of Mississippi River frontage in 2010. The property owner argued that port officials were trying to take the property at a bargain price and transfer it to a competitor. Louisiana law provides that “no business enterprise or any of its assets shall be taken for the purpose of operating that enterprise or halting competition with a government enterprise.” The property owner has support from national groups such as the Institute for Justice and the Pacific Legal Foundation. Attorneys for the port argued that Louisiana law specifically singles out ports and airports when it comes to the kind of “public purpose” that justifies eminent domain, citing the need “to facilitate the transport of goods or persons in domestic or international commerce.” The case is on appeal from a 2-1 split decision by a panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

A bill was introduced in the PA House of Representatives which stating that “in the case of a partial taking of the property of a condemnee, a condemnor may not render the remaining parcel inaccessible to the condemnee by creating a landlocked property with no ingress or egress to or from a public road or highway.” The bill contains an exception in the event the condemnee consents to that taking. The bill, HB 1773, was introduced on September 12, 2017 and was referred to the Committee on State Government.

A Florida developer petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a $10 million takings case against the Florida Department of Environmental Protection  The developer alleged that the DEP’s denial of a development permit for a beachfront parcel was an unlawful taking. The developer intended to build 17 luxury townhouse units Fort Pierce, Florida

The trial court found the DEP’s denial constituted a taking. However, the Florida Court of Appeals reversed that decision and the Florida Supreme Court denied the developer’s petition to hear the case. The Court of Appeals found that the developer should have applied for a variance or waiver after its permit was initially denied even though the trial court found that a request for variance or waiver would have been futile. Therefore, the Court of Appeals held, the case was not “ripe.”

The developer’s petition for writ to Scotus states, “This Court should grant Beach Group’s Petition for writ of certiorari to address the miscarriage of justice resulting from the court of appeal’s reversal of the trial court’s order of taking, and to address the important federal questions of (1) whether landowners must submit and be denied economically impracticable development plans to ripen a regulatory taking claim, and (2) whether regulatory taking ripeness always requires pursuit of a variance, essentially doing away with this Court’s futility exception.”

The Utah legislature is considering policy changes regarding the acquisition of land for new charter schools and further expansions of existing schools. Specifically, there currently is uncertainty as to the eminent domain powers of charter schools in that state.

The Utah Administrative Rules Review Committee questioned what authority charter schools have to call on the state to seize property through eminent domain laws. Kristen Elinowski, a spokeswoman for the State Charter School Board, said because Utah’s eminent domain statute predates Utah’s charter schools policies, there is need for specific clarification of whether it is the state board of education, the charter school board or the charter school that should be the entity involved in approving the use of eminent domain.

The Georgia Supreme Court is considering an important case involving the state’s 2006 Landowner’s Bill of Rights statute. At issue is whether certain provisions of that statute are mandatory or merely advisory. The GA appeals court ruled that the City of Marietta violated that statute by not providing the property owner with details of the city’s appraisal of his property. The Landowner’s Bill of Rights says that the condemning authority should give the property owner an opportunity to accompany the appraiser during inspection, and provide the owner with “a written statement of, and summary of the basis for,” the offered amount. Marietta argues that these are not mandatory requirements. Oral argument was done last month.