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On June 25, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District. Some will view Koontz as a significant case that corrects an imbalance of power between government officials and property owners negotiating discretionary exactions in zoning cases. Others will say that it does not — that the distinctions the case purports to draw (between property-based and monetary exactions) are not commonly made in practice and that the protections the case suggests are needed are already in place.
The holdings in the case, standing alone, at first appear to clarify a long-standing disagreement among lower courts about whether the Supreme Court decisions in Nollan and Dolan apply to permit denials (not just approvals) and to monetary exactions (not just property exactions). However, given the facts in this case, the issues the Supreme Court sent back to the Florida courts, and the commentary and reasoning of the Koontz majority, a closer look at the case gives one the sense that very little may have been clarified.
This issue of Zoning Practice summarizes the underlying facts and key legal issues related to the case of Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District and outlines several steps local governments should take to ensure compliance with the Koontz decision.
About the Author
Tyson Smith, AICP
<p>Tyson Smith, Esq., AICP, has over 29 years of experience as a city and county planner, planning consultant, and attorney, focused entirely on land use and community planning. Tyson is a certified mediator and expert at public facilitation and mutual problem solving. His experience is extensive, starting as a county planner in the Florida Keys, and continuing today as a national consultant. Tyson’s practice includes Compatible Use Studies and CUS Implementation tools, impact fee programs, growth management, mobility fees, zoning code development, development agreements, and concurrency/APFO planning.</p>