![if gte IE 9]><![endif]><![if gte IE 9]><![endif]><![if gte IE 9]><![endif]>
Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
A claim that the application of government regulations effects a taking of a property interest is not ripe until the government entity charged with implementing the regulations has reached a final decision regarding the application of the regulations to the property at issue.
Respondent owner of a tract of land being developed as a residential subdivision sued the County Regional Planning Commission and its members and staff in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, alleging that the application of various zoning laws and regulations to its property amounted to a "taking" of that property. At trial, the jury agreed and awarded the owner $ 350,000 as just compensation for the "taking." The court then granted judgment notwithstanding the verdict in favor of the Commission on the taking claim, reasoning in part that the owner was unable to derive economic benefit from its property on a temporary basis only, and that such a temporary deprivation, as a matter of law, cannot constitute a taking. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed, holding that application of government regulations affecting an owner's use of property may constitute a taking if the regulation denies the owner all "economically viable" use of the land, and that the evidence supported the jury's finding that the property had no economically feasible use during the time between the Commission's refusal to approve the preliminary plat and the jury's verdict. The court rejected the District Court's holding that the taking verdict could not stand as a matter of law and determined that damages were required to compensate for a temporary taking. A writ of certiorari was granted.
Did the appellate court correctly reinstate an award of damages as just compensation in respondent’s suit claiming that application of zoning laws and regulations to respondent's residential subdivision amounted to a taking under the Just Compensation Clause of the Fifth Amendment?
The Court concluded that respondent's claim was not ripe because respondent did not obtain a final decision for the application of zoning ordinance and subdivision regulations to the property, nor used state procedures for obtaining just compensation. Respondent's claim was premature as both a deprivation of property without due process under the Fourteenth Amendment and a taking under the Just Compensation Clause of the Fifth Amendment. There was no evidence that respondent applied to an appellate board for variances from the zoning ordinance. A second reason the taking claim was not yet ripe was that respondent did not seek compensation through the procedures the state provided. If a state provided an adequate procedure for seeking just compensation, respondent could not claim violation of the just compensation clause until it used the procedure and was denied just compensation.