Land Use Impact Fees: Does Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District Echo an Arkansas Philosophy of Property Rights?
2014 Ark. L. Notes 1626
15 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2014 Last revised: 18 Sep 2014
Date Written: 2014
The takings clause of the Arkansas Constitution declares that "the right of property is before and higher than any constitutional sanction." Perhaps such an elevated regard for property is little more than a relic of the post-reconstruction South. But the philosophy seems surprisingly well aligned with a 2013 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District holds that the U.S. Constitution requires heightened scrutiny when a land use authority exacts an impact fee in exchange for a development permit. Koontz arguably reconceives the Court’s attitude toward routine land use regulation, implying a constitutionally favored right to develop land and, in the process, potentially repealing decades of case law conferring broad discretion on the government to regulate land use for the common good. In this sense, Koontz may signal that a majority of today’s U.S. Supreme Court reckons that the right of property is indeed before and higher than other constitutional rights.
Keywords: Takings clause, Property, Property Law, Constitutional Law, Arkansas Law, Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District
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