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Palazzolo v. Rhode Island

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 533 U.S. 606, 121 S. Ct. 2448, 150 L. Ed. 2d 592, 2001 U.S.

Brief Fact Summary. The Petitioner, Palazzolo (Petitioner), owned a waterfront parcel of land, almost all of which was designated coastal wetland. The Respondent, the state of Rhode Island (Respondent), rejected Petitioner’s development proposals.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. A regulation may be found to constitute a taking if it goes too far in light of the property owner’s reasonable investment backed expectations, even though it does not deprive the owner of all economically viable use.

Facts. The majority of the property in question consisted of wetland, salt water marsh that needed serious fill and draining work to be suitable for any construction. Seven years prior to the Petitioner’s personal possession of title, the majority of the property was designated a coastal wetland by the Coast Resources Management Council. However, Petitioner’s corporation, of which petitioner was the sole shareholder, had invested in the property in 1959, prior to the enactment of the wetlands regulations. The regulations promulgated by the Council designated the marsh areas to be protected coastal wetlands. Undisputed evidence showed one of the Petitioner’s upland parcels of property continued to have a $200,000 development value although the remaining portions of property had become protected wetlands.

Issue. Whether the Rhode Island Coast Resources Management Council’s application of the wetlands regulations was a taking without just compensation.

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