WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court says governments that withhold development permits may owe compensation to property owners.
The 5-4 decision came Tuesday in a case involving a 15-acre plot owned by Coy Koontz in the Orlando area. He wanted permits from the local water management district to develop land classified as environmentally sensitive.
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Negotiations over the permits failed when the owner would not agree to conditions that included reducing the size of his project and paying for work on nearby government-owned land. Koontz sued, asserting that the agency's conditions were so strict that they amounted to a taking of his property, which the Constitution prohibits without "just compensation."
The Florida Supreme Court ruled for the agency, but the justices overturned that decision and sent the case back.