Supreme Court to Hear Florida Property-Rights Case
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on Tuesday in a property-rights case that could have national implications about what government can require landowners to do in exchange for allowing them to develop their property.
The plaintiff, Coy Koontz Jr., took over the case for his deceased father who in 1994 sued Florida’s St. Johns River Water Management District after it denied him permits to dredge and fill in wetlands on his 15-acre (6-hectare) parcel because of concerns about possible environmental damage.
Koontz’s original development plan called for destroying more than three acres of protected wetlands in the Econlockhatchee River Hydrologic Basin near Orlando, Florida.
Koontz offered to mitigate the damage by preserving about 11 acres of the site, but the water management district told him the law required him to do more.
The district offered several solutions, including reducing the size of his proposed building project to one acre, or making improvements to wetlands somewhere else in the Econ Basin. Koontz refused and sued.