Monday, October 8, 2007

Who will pay?

This is my first post on this Blog. After running a one-sided blog for a few months on my 10-year old website,, I decided to try a format that allows for exchanges of ideas with clients, friends (and adversaries), and people who are just looking for information on regulatory taking issues.

My law practice in the Florida Keys is devoted -- almost 100% -- to regulatory taking claims (though I do take on other land use matters). At this point in my career, I like focusing on "taking" litigation, but I enjoy bashing government at every opportunity, whether on vested rights claims, constitutional issues, or other interesting or complex matters.

If successful in the takings area, I will put myself out of business. Sooner or later, the time will arrive when someone has to pay Florida Keys landowners for the thousands of parcels that are being turned into parkland by confiscatory regulations. When that time comes, will it be the Monroe County taxpayers? Or will the State of Florida come up with the cash? If there is no money, the government will have to throw in the towel and let everyone use their property (what a novel thought). That might cause me to consider retiring.

1 comment:

Jim Mattson said...

Anonymous -- Thanks for your comment, but Monroe County isn't some Banana Republic, and Florida isn't China.

The U.S. and Florida Constitutions make it clear that, if a local, state, or federal government entity wishes to prevent the use of "every single lot" in it's jurisdiction, it has to purchase every single lot, and it must pay Fair Market Value for each of those lots as if it could be used for its "highest and best use." In the case of "lots" that usually means a single-family home.

If the government can't afford to do that, or simply decides not to raise taxes enough to buy "every single lot," than the lots it doesn't buy get built upon.

It's as simple as that.