Lucas - Page 1 LEXSEE 505 U.S. 1003 DAVID H. LUCAS,...

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Page 1 LEXSEE 505 U.S. 1003 DAVID H. LUCAS, PETITIONER v. SOUTH CAROLINA COASTAL COUNCIL No. 91-453 SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES 505 U.S. 1003 ; 112 S. Ct. 2886 ; 120 L. Ed. 2d 798 ; 1992 U.S. LEXIS 4537 ; 60 U.S.L.W. 4842 ; 34 ERC (BNA) 1897 ; 92 Daily Journal DAR 9030 ; 22 ELR 21104 ; 6 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 715 March 2, 1992, Argued June 29, 1992, Decided PRIOR HISTORY: ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF SOUTH CAROLINA. DISPOSITION: 304 S. C. 376, 404 S. E. 2d 895 , reversed and remanded. DECISION: South Carolina court held to have applied wrong standard in determining whether state beach- front management statute, by barring construction, effected "taking" of property under Fifth Amend- ment . SUMMARY: Under 1977 legislation, the state of South Carolina required owners of certain "critical area" coastal-zone land to obtain a permit from a coastal council before changing the use of the land. In 1986, a developer purchased two lots on a barrier island--which lots did not then qualify as a "critic- al area" and were zoned for single-family residential construction--and made plans to erect such res- idences on the lots. In 1988, however, the state enacted a Beachfront Management Act (BMA) which established a new baseline on the island and prohibited any construction of occupable im- provements seaward of a line parallel to and 20 feet landward of the baseline, thereby barring the developer's plans. The developer, filing suit against the council in the South Carolina Court of Com- mon Pleas, did not challenge the validity of the BMA as an exercise of the state's police power, but contended that the BMA's complete extinguishment of the value of his property effected a "taking" of the property for which he was entitled to just compensation. The Court of Common Pleas found that the BMA decreed a permanent ban on construction on the developer's lots, where there had been no restrictions on such use before, and had thereby deprived the developer of any reasonable
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Page 2 economic use of the lots, rendering the lots valueless; accordingly, the court ordered the council to pay just compensation of more than $ 1.2 million. While the case was pending before the Supreme Court of South Carolina, the BMA was amended to authorize the council, in certain circumstances, to issue special permits for construction of habitable structures seaward of the baseline. The Su- preme Court of South Carolina, reversing the judgment of the Court of Common Pleas, held that (1) in the absence of an attack on the validity of the BMA as such, the court was bound to accept the state legislature's uncontested findings that new construction in the coastal zone threatened a public resource; and (2) when a regulation respecting the use of property is designed to prevent serious public harm, no compensation is owed regardless of the regulation's effect on the property's value ( 304 SC 376, 404 SE2d 895 ). On certiorari, the United States Supreme Court reversed and remanded. In an opinion by Scalia,
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This note was uploaded on 02/18/2010 for the course ESP 161 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at UC Davis.

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Lucas - Page 1 LEXSEE 505 U.S. 1003 DAVID H. LUCAS,...

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