Pipelines Here, There and Everywhere

Sooner or later a pipeline case had to arrive at the Supreme Court.  Last week the Court rules on the first high profile case.  The court ruled in favor of a 600-mile natural gas pipeline proposed to go under the Appalachian Trail in rural Virginia.  We wrote on the case in our blog on June 16, 2020.  The decision also removed a hurdle for another 300-mile pipeline and could prompt development on other ecologically important lands. The Supreme Court will now consider whether it will grant or deny review, or… read more

Posted in Eleventh Amendment, Pipelines
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Border Wars Trump Style

The U.S. has actively been pursuing the wall between the United States and Mexico.  And, no, Mexico is not paying for it.  Since the month of March, the government has filed 24 new condemnation cases to acquire private property from South Texas landowners which is more than were filed in the preceding eight months.  All this despite the pandemic. There are currently 657 miles of primary barriers and 50 miles of secondary barriers along the 2000-mile border. Remember that the vast majority of the barriers were constructed prior to the… read more

Posted in Border Wall, Condemnation
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Notice of “Rails to Trails” Constitutes a Taking

On May 29, 2020, the Federal Circuit Court o Appeals issued a decision in Caquelin v U.S., No. 19-1385 (Fed. Cir. 2020), which held that a categorical taking analysis applies to the evaluation of whether a Notice of Intended Trail use constitutes a taking. In the early development of our County, railroads were critical to development.  Development of railroad networks was very important.  So important, that railroads were given the power of eminent domain.  The railroads used the power to negotiate or take easements over private property for the use… read more

Posted in Categorical Taking, Rails-to-Trails
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The Atlantic Coast Pipeline

The United States Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline can traverse sixteen (16) miles of land within the George Washington National Forest.  The case, United States Forest Service v Cowpasture River Prevention Assoc., 590 U.S. ___ (2020), considered the grant of a special permit from the Forest Service for a right of way some 600 feet below a portion of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.  The Respondents filed a petition for review alleging that the special permit for the right of way violated the Mineral… read more

Posted in Appalachian Trial, Easements, Right-of-Way
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No Soup for You – Colorado Supreme Court Refuses Compensation for Taking of Restrictive Covenant

The Town of Monument condemned a privately owned lot in a residential subdivision for the purpose of locating a water storage tank.  The lot was subject to a restrictive covenant requiring that it remain residential in use and that only a single-family home could be built on it.  Restrictive covenants are not unusual and are common in the development of planned unit communities.  Restrictive covenants have significant and substantial impact on the use and value of property. In response to the Town’s condemnation proceeding, dozens of property owners in the… read more

Posted in Compensation, Easements, Just Compensation, Restrictive Covenants
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Manalapan Farm Owner’s Condemnation Award of $4.5 Reversed as “Miscarriage of Justice”

The Asbury Park Press reported yesterday that the State Supreme Court reversed a jury award of $4.5 million to a farm owner.  According to his counsel, the Town took the property to prevent its development.  The farmer had been seeking to sell the property for housing development which the Township opposed.  The Town thought it would be a good property for the Township to own for recreational expansion.  This certainly is not a condemnation for a public purpose.  Taking property to stop its development is not a lawful taking.  A… read more

Posted in Appraisal, Evidence, Re-zonings
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Border Wall Land Grabs

The New York Times reported on May 30, 2020 that the Trump administration is accelerating efforts to seize private property for Trump’s border wall.  The government is taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to survey land while its owners are confined indoors.  This blog has written about the wall before.  How’s the Wall Going? February 10, 2020; How’s Your Wall Going? Part II, February 27, 2020.  These blogs discussed the destruction of protected saguaro cactuses which can live for 200 years.  It’s a crime to cut down a saguaro, punishable… read more

Posted in Border Wall, Native American Sites, Texas
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I KNOW THERE IS A PANDEMIC, BUT WHO COMPENSATES ME FOR MY LOSSES? PROPERTY RIGHTS v POLICY POWER

When government directly takes or inversely takes private property, our Federal and State Constitutions require the payment of just compensation.  But when property is taken for an emergency, the result may be different.  The federal government has an inherent “police power” to seize property without providing just compensation. The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis is unprecedented.  In the United States, as of May 21, 2020, 93,439 people have died.  At least 1,551,853 cases of the disease have been recorded according to Johns Hopkins University.  The disease is extremely infectious and has spread… read more

Posted in Covid-19, Property Rights
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Texas Bullet Train Speeds Along

We have written before about the Texas Bullet Train. (The Saga of the Texas Bullet Train, March 9, 2020). The proposed train spans a large area in Texas. It will be able to transport riders from Houston to Dallas in 90 minutes. There is strong opposition to the railroad by property owners in areas in between the cities who fear their property will lose substantial value in partial takings for the track. This is a true “consequential damage” similar to having a high voltage power line in one’s backyard. The… read more

Posted in Bullet Train, Consequential Damages, Severance Damages
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What’s More Important, Fire Island’s Beach Replenishment or Mar-a-Lago’s Beach?

          We wrote about the Fire Island beach replenishment on August 6, 2019, “Shame on You Suffolk County: The Attempt to Steal Just Compensation.”  As was then stated, the takings on Fire Island were the result of a federal study which followed Hurricane Sandy.           The study, Inlet Stabilization Fire Island Inlet to Moriches Project Report, US Army Corps of Engineers, June 2014, stated the dune was to protect Fire Island and, in addition, the back-bay area of the South Shore opposite Fire Island.  (Ibid. 1.2.2).  It was established that… read more

Posted in Beach Replenishment, Dune Repair, Fire Island, Uncategorized
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