Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Say "Hello" to Bert (Harris, that is)

We served 41 Bert Harris Act petitions today on Monroe County and the State of Florida, seeking $46.7 million in compensation to the owners of 196 Florida Keys land parcels. These are only a tiny fraction of the number of parcels adversely affected by the Keys' recently-completed land-stealing pogrom (a/k/a "tier zoning"). Thirty-four claimants' properties are in Tier I, which are essentially unbuildable. Seven own Tier II property. For Tier I and II landowners to even compete for a permit, they would be forced to spend on the order of $235,000 for 20 points (Tier I) or $117,500 for 10 points (Tier II) just to begin with the same number of "points" a Tier III landowner starts with. AND they must acquire all but two of those 10 or 20 points by purchasing their neighbors' Tier I lots -- at 4 points apiece -- at the bargain basement prices the government has been paying. If this is not held unconstitutional -- and we will revisit that as each lawsuit is served -- I will eat my favorite hiking hat.

We strongly recommend Tier I, II, and III-A landowners refuse to sell their land at less than the Fair Market Value it would have if it had a building permit -- and flatly refuse to sell to any government agency. The purpose of the Tier pogrom is to force landowners to sell to government, or the other leeches (including the Tier I and II landowners themselves), at far less than the Fair Market Values they would receive in a Condemnation proceeding -- by invoking the legal doctrine known as Condemnation Blight. I have included some Fair Market Value information at the end of this post. If nobody offers that much -- do not sell! Either force the government to condemn, or bring your own inverse condemnation action. Either way, the government pays your costs, attorneys fees, and interest.

In May of this year, an Upper Keys jury awarded over $5 million to our clients, the West and Freeman families, four years (for which they will get another 10% interest/yr) after the State acquired their 20+ acres on North Key Largo for $550,000 in a "quick-take". (See my May 22, 2008 post). Just as in today's pogrom, the West-Freeman property was infected with Condemnation Blight building moratoria -- which allowed us to have the Judge instruct the jury to value the property as if the moratoria never existed. There is a more substantial analysis of Condemnation Blight on my website --

As it is now public record, I will share with you our appraiser's Fair Market Value analysis that we provided the County and State in several of the Bert Harris Act petitions. These are January 1, 2008, "generic" Fair Market Values -- that need to be adjusted if special conditions exist, such as too little lot area or the need to pay mitigation in order to place fill in a wetland -- for Upper and Lower Keys residential lots only.

Lower Keys Lots: Dry $240,000; Canal $320,000; Open Water $520,000
Upper Keys Lots: Dry $170,000; Canal $405,000; Open Water $610,000

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