Thursday, January 29, 2009

Neither the Monroe County Commission, nor any Florida Governor, will Ever Get It

Now that we have the Statutes-of-Limitation defenses behind us (Keys landowners can wait for a thousand years), and local and state governments are having problems finding two nickels to rub together, it is a good time for Keys land use lawyers to increase their "taking/due process" offensive against the State and local governments. The pair of regulatory taking opinions by the 3rd District Court of Appeal on New Year's Eve, Collins v Monroe County & the State, and Shands v Marathon, have pushed affected Keys landowners well into the finals of the liability stage in regulatory taking lawsuits.

Our pending cases include (i) the 11-plaintiff Collins case, (ii) the McCole and (iii) Beyer cases against Marathon and the State, (iv) Evanoff's vs. Islamorada & the State, (v) Sutton v Monroe County, and (vi) Lightner, et al v Monroe County & the State, a class action Taking/Due Process suit involving the confiscatory regulations on Big Pine and No Name Keys. And let's not forget our $7 million judgments against the State of Florida in State v West & Richardson, that are now on appeal at the Third DCA. (The state's initial brief is due in mid-February.)

Since 1986, the State of Florida and "Junior" (a/k/a Monroe County) have enacted so many confiscatory regulations in the Florida Keys that they make the California Coastal Commission appear pro-development! If we had not been such a miniscule part of Florida, with only 80,000 residents (read "homevoters") on a 120-mile chain of islands, big law firms would have been all over this problem 20 years ago. But, we are a miniscule mass of people. While 80% of the owners of affected properties do not live or vote here, 12 years ago that percentage was 90%. It is clear that non-resident landowners have been more willing, than locals, to trade their land for 15 cents on the dollar.

The time has come to get 100% of Fair Market Value for the remaining undeveloped properties in Playboy bunny rabbit, Key deer, and endangered rodent habitats -- so those little critters can enjoy life and pay property taxes like everyone else. And if Gideon Kanner is looking for a place where his experience can be put to the test on a constant basis, maybe he will think about spending some time in the Florida Keys.

1 comment:

totus said...

I couldn't agree with you more and thanks for sharing. I have relatives that own undeveloped land in the lower keys, now they can't do anything with it and the property value is worth nothing! Its simply just not fair. If government wants this land, they should have to pay fair market value for it!