A survey of the two lots in question. Source: Pacific Legal Foundation.

In a 5-4 decision announced today, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Wisconsin could prohibit development of a subdivision lot—while allowing development on an adjacent lot owned by the same family—without paying just compensation.  The Court’s decision is a victory for states and local governments and a loss for property rights advocates.
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Finds No Regulatory Taking in Wisconsin Case

A photograph of Lot E, the parcel that is the subject of the Murrs’ dispute. Source: eenews.net.

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court set oral argument for March 20, 2017 in the case of Murr v. Wisconsin, in which the Court is being asked to determine what constitutes the “relevant parcel” in determining whether a regulatory taking of private property has occurred.  The Court’s decision in Murr, expected this summer, may significantly affect private parties’ ability to bring takings claims when government actions render portions—as opposed to the entirety—of the parties’ property unusable or undevelopable.

Two parcels of property located along Lake St. Croix in Wisconsin are the subject of Murr.  The two waterfront parcels, each of which are just over an acre in area, were platted in 1959.  The Murr family purchased one of the parcels (Lot F), and subsequently purchased the other parcel (Lot E) in 1963.  The Murrs built a family cabin on Lot F, and Lot E has remained vacant ever since.  The Murrs held title to Lot F in their family business, while they held title to Lot E under their personal names.  In 1994, the family business conveyed Lot F to their six children, and in 1995, Lot E was also conveyed to the children. 
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Set to Hear Oral Argument in Takings Case

In a case that has been percolating for over 14 years, the federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals concluded last month that the Village of Garden City, New York engaged in racial discrimination in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) as a result of unlawful zoning practices.  The Second Circuit’s decision came in

In Ave. 6E Invs., LLC v. City of Yuma, decided last week, the Ninth Circuit considered whether a local government’s refusal to grant a rezoning request that would have allowed higher-density residential development violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA).  This case is one of the most significant cases since last summer’s Supreme Court decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project to address issues of disparate impact and discriminatory intent under the FHA.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit: Local Government’s Denial of Rezoning May Violate Fair Housing Act

Last month, a petition for writ of certiorari was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to revisit a 30-year-old doctrine that makes it difficult for private landowners to bring inverse condemnation and regulatory takings claims.
Continue Reading Cert Petition Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Reconsider Williamson County Doctrine