A Response to the New York Times Opinion Article

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/28/opinion/property-rights-case.html

Earlier, a New York Times Op-Ed attacking the owner’s position in the Koontz Supreme Court appeal was provided in this blog.

Paul J. Beard, II offers a well-reasoned and thought out response.

Each is worth reading.

There is nothing “radical” about the Koontz family’s argument to the Supreme Court that government can’t impose unrelated, unjustified burdens on people seeking land-use permits.

When the Koontzes sought a development permit for a few acres in Orange County, Fla., they were told that they must finance extensive wetlands mitigation on government land — costing up to $150,000. As the lower state courts recognized, the price exceeded any environmental impact from the Koontzes’ proposed land use. So, under United States Supreme Court precedents against extortionate demands on permit applicants, it amounted to a “taking.”

However, the Florida Supreme Court sided with the government, holding that the Fifth Amendment’s anti-extortion rule prohibits only outrageous exactions of land, not money.

The Koontzes are asking the United States Supreme Court to reject this arbitrary distinction and affirm that a shakedown is a shakedown, no matter what currency it comes in.

The Koontzes aren’t challenging the government’s authority to ask for mitigation — only the misuse of mitigation as cover for confiscation.

PAUL J. BEARD II
Sacramento, Jan. 20, 2013

The writer, an attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation, represents Coy Koontz Jr., the petitioner in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District.

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