Posts Tagged ‘Taking’

Supreme Court To Decide Who Owns The Beach

Today, the Supreme Court of the Unitied States will hear oral arguments in Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, Walton County and City of Destin, Docket 08-1151.  The case will decide whether beach restoration constitutes an illegal taking of private property.  

At the heart of the case is the restoration of 6.9 miles of beach in Destin, Walton County, Florida that resulted in 75 feet public beach in front of the 5 beach-front property owners that make up Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc.  The renews the debate of public vs. private beaches.  The complaining property owners claim Florida used the excuse of beach renourishment to illegally take land for the creation of public beach without just compensation.

You can review the brief of Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. here and Florida’s response brief here.  You can find all merit and amicus briefs here.

Twenty-six states joined together to file an amicus brief in favor of Florida.  The case has also attracted amicus briefs from the United States and a number of municipal and nonprofit organizations.

A decision is expected before the end of June, 2010.

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DOT Lets Acquired Rights of Way Languish

An audit of the Georgia Department of Transportation has not only revealed a deficit of $456 million, but that its right-of-way office, which acquires land for road development, has forced people to sell their land and then let it languish.  DOT doesn’t even know how much land it owns.

In one case, for a project on Ga. 316 and Ga. 81 in 1999, DOT told a man it needed land that he had bought less than six months before, intending to build a gas station.

It usually takes years for a project to arrive at the construction stage, and the man asked DOT if it would let him build his station and make what profit he could until the agency was ready to build its ramps.

DOT refused, saying the project was “imminent,” and condemned his land.

“Eight years later, GDOT continues to have no formal construction plans for the project and the project is not on GDOT’s Long Range Program,” according to the audit.

The audit also revealed that 52% of the people that fought the DOT appraisal of their property that was being taken ultimately received higher compensation calling in to question the qualifications of DOT appraisers.

DOT’s press release concerning the audit can be found here.