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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The Saga of the Texas Bullet Train

          The proposed Dallas to Houston bullet train spans a large area in Texas.  The train will be able to transport riders from Houston to Dallas in 90 minutes.  But the project is stalled pending approval of the Federal Railroad Administration and property owners fighting eminent domain.           According to an article in today’s “The Dallas Morning News,” the opposition arises in areas in between the cities.  Certainly, these property owners have nothing to be excited about.           Interesting is the concern voiced by many of their fear that people… read more

Posted in Consequential Damages, Severance Damages, Texas Bullet Train, Uncategorized
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Mixing and Matching the Bill of Rights to Find Justice

          Timbs v Indiana, 139 S. Ct. 682 (2019) involved the seizure of a $42,000 Land Rover for a minor offense which had a maximum fine of $10,000.  The Supreme Court in a decision authorized by Justice Ruth Ginsburg held that the action allowed the Court to augment its Fourteenth Amendment by the “excessive fines clause” of the Eighth Amendment due process jurisprudence.  To demonstrate the importance of this protection against government’s ability to commandeer property, Justice Ginsburg traced what she called the “venerable lineage” of this protection to Magna… read more

Posted in Eighth Amendment, Exorbitant Fines, Uncategorized
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How’s Your Wall Going? Part II

          We previously wrote on this subject on February 10, 2020.           The New York Times on February 27, 2020 reports the desecration of tribal lands by the Trump administration’s scramble to build a wall at America’s border with Mexico.  The article written by Simon Romero reports the destruction of protected saguaro cactuses which can live for 200 years.  Ordinarily, cut down a saguaro and you can face years in prison.           The remains of chopped-up saguaros are now visible along a swath of the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona,… read more

Posted in Border Wall, Endangered Species Act, Takings, Tribal Lands, Uncategorized
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