The PLF Liberty Blog, one of the leading proponents of property rights, is providing an amicus brief on the interesting Stamper case.
The reality is that a market participant, meaning an owner, has a specific control of the utilization of a certain adjacent property which increases the value of the individual owner’s property. This is part of the highest and best use of the property. Just compensation is required for the condemnation of that owner’s individual control of the utilization of adjacent properties.
In this case, Richard Stamper and Donald Robinson own 9 acres of land zoned light industrial that the City of Perris wants for a road extension. In order to attract a Lowe’s distribution center, the City decided it needed to take 20% out of the middle of the Stamper/Robinson property for a new road. The City argued that because it was going to require the owners to dedicate the land before they could build, the City only had to pay for the land valued at its current, agricultural use. The city also left open the possibility that in the future, the Owners might have to dedicate even more land to the City if they want to develop the rest of their property.
The landowners challenged this action and after four years in the California Courts, their case has finally reached the California Supreme Court. Our amicus brief makes two major arguments:
1) Local governments can’t avoid paying fair market value for property they take via eminent domain merely by amending their general plans. If they could do that, then all governments would diminish property values in that way to acquire land more cheaply.
2) In accordance with PLF’s 1987 Supreme Court victory, Nollan v. California Coastal Commission, government bears the burden of showing that a property owner’s development impacts justify dedication requirements. Therefore, the government can’t merely impose a dedication on land it wants. It must show that if the land were developed privately, the dedication would be necessary to mitigate for the impacts of that development on public infrastructure.