Nollan v. California Coastal Commission

483 U.S. 825, 107 S. Ct. 3141 (1987)



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.


Appellant landowners brought suit to invalidate a condition on their land permit requiring them to grant the public an easement across their beachfront property. The superior court issued a writ of mandamus. The court of appeals found the condition to be valid and reversed the writ. Appellants sought review and the United States Supreme Court found that the right to exclude others from private property was an essential right to the ownership of property.




Did the condition requiring grant of public easement across the beachfront section of private property amount to a taking of property without just compensation?




The judgment of the court of appeals was reversed because conditioning a building permit upon a grant of a public easement constituted a taking of appellant's property and required the state to compensate appellants. 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 appellants.

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