Nollan v. Cal. Coastal Com

483 U.S. 825



Land-use regulation does not effect a taking if it substantially advances legitimate state interests and does not deny an owner economically viable use of his land.


Plaintiffs owned a beachfront property, and originally leased the property with option to buy. Under state law, they were required to obtain a development permit from the defendant if they wished to change the building on the property. Plaintiffs applied for the permit, and the defendant granted the application, but conditioned it on plaintiffs' granting an easement to the public, to make it easier to get to the beach. Plaintiffs protested, and argued that the condition could not be imposed without evidence that the development would have an adverse effect on public access to the beach. The state courts and administrative hearing officers all ruled against the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court and claimed that the condition constituted a taking, and the SCOTUS granted cert.


Does a governmental requirement of an easement to be conveyed as a condition for issuing a permit constitutes a taking?




On appeal, the Supreme Court found that the right to exclude others from private property was an essential right to the ownership of property. Further, it found that if government action resulted in permanent occupation of land, it would effect a taking unless it substantially furthered legitimate state interests. The Court found that California required the use of eminent domain to obtain easements across private property and the condition imposed was not a use of eminent domain. The Court finally held that the condition was a taking and that, if the state wanted an easement, it would have to compensate the plaintiffs.

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