Friday, January 11, 2013

Lost Tree Village Corporation v. U.S.

Jan 10: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, Case No. 12-5008. Appealed from the United States Court of Federal Claims. The Appeals Court explains that the U.S. Court of Federal Claims determined
that the Army Corps of Engineers did not effect a regulatory taking compensable under the Fifth Amendment when it denied Lost Tree Village Corporation's application for a permit to fill wetlands on its 4.99 acre plat (Plat 57). In reaching this conclusion, the Court of Federal Claims found Lost Tree's parcel as a whole includes Plat 57, a neighboring upland plat (Plat 55), and scattered wetlands in the vicinity owned by Lost Tree at the time the permit was denied. The Appeals Court ruled, "Because the Court of
Federal Claims erred in its determination of the relevant parcel, this court reverses and remands for further proceedings."
    In this complicated Florida land development case, the Appeals Court concludes further, "After a careful review of the entire record, this court determines that the relevant parcel is Plat 57 alone. The trial court's factual findings support the conclusion that Lost Tree had distinct economic expectations for each of Plat 57, Plat 55, and its scattered wetland holdings in the vicinity. Because the Court of Federal Claims erred in its determination of the relevant parcel, this court reverses the judgment and remands for further proceedings. On remand, the court first should determine the loss in economic value to Plat 57 suffered by Lost Tree as a result of the Corps' denial of the § 404 permit, and then apply the appropriate framework to determine whether a compensable taking occurred. In determining the loss in value to Plat 57, the court may revisit the property values it adopted in the course of determining the impact of the Plat 57 permit denial on Lost Tree under its definition of the relevant parcel."
    Access the complete opinion which includes a map of the development and parcels in question (click here). [#Land, #Water, #CAFed]
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