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.
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.