Supreme Court's Koontz ruling a victory for landowners

In 5-4 ruling, high court says that Florida put unreasonable demands on a property owner seeking to develop his land.

WASHINGTON  In a victory for landowners and property rights advocates, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a Florida regulatory agency placed unreasonable demands on a landowner who sought building permits to develop his land.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court in a 5-4 ruling that split along familiar ideological lines, with the court's conservatives in the majority in the case, Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District.

Overruling Florida's highest court, the Supreme Court said that the family of the now-deceased Coy Koontz Sr. can pursue a property rights claim against the St. Johns River Water Management District over conditions the agency wanted to impose on a permit application.

The ruling expanded on two earlier cases, known as Nollan and Dolan, establishing the conditions a state may place on property development

"The decision has the potential to significantly expand property-owners’ ability to challenge local land use regulations and fees, though it is not clear that this expansion will result in a significant number of successful challenges," SCOTUSblog reports.

Related: Supreme Court strikes down part of Voting Rights Act

Reuters contributed to this report.


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