Brief Fact Summary. The Petitioner, Lucas (Petitioner), was not allowed to build homes on the South Carolina beachfront property he owned. A state trial court found that the land was valueless as a result of the regulation of the Respondent, the South Carolina Coastal Council (Respondent).
Synopsis of Rule of Law. If a regulation prohibits all economically beneficial use of land and the proscribed use could not have been prohibited under a given state’s nuisance law, the regulation is a “taking” which requires “just compensation” to be paid to the landowner.
Issue. Does the no-build regulation result in a compensable taking?
Held. Yes. It is unreasonable for a state to prohibit the owner from using the land as he originally intended, unless it can be shown that this use results in a nuisance or that general property law prohibits such a use. The Supreme Court of the United State (Supreme Court) observed that mandated preservation of private land looks like a conversion of private property to public, a classic taking. Regulation of land use must account for owners’ traditional understanding as to the states power over their property rights. By way of example the Supreme Court stated that the owner of a lake bed is always aware that he may be stopped by law from flooding adjacent property to create a landfill. However, here, since a state’s common law principles would not prohibit the Petitioner from building on the land, then a taking has occurred.
No matter how minute the intrusion, and no matter how weighty the public purpose behind it, we have required compensation.View Full Point of Law