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Not So Fast. Land Use Permit Conditions Must Be Reasonable

By: Harry Malka, Esquire

Your Construction Law FirmTM

In Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management Dist. 77 So. 3d 1220 (2013), Coy Koontz, Sr. ("Koontz"), sought permits to develop a section of his property from the St. Johns River Water Management District ("District"). As required by Florida law, Koontz offered to mitigate the environmental effects of his proposed development by agreeing to deed nearly three­ quarters of his property to the District to use as a conservation easement. The District rejected Koontz's proposal and informed him that it would approve construction only if he (1) re­duced the size of his development and deeded the remaining (larger) portion of his property to the Dis­trict or (2) paid for contractors to make improvements to District-­owned wetlands several miles away. Believing the District's de­mands to be excessive, Koontz filed suit under a Florida law that provides for money damages when an agency's action is an "unreasonable exercise of the state's police power constituting a taking without just compensation."  Read On . . .

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