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Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Hawaii Supreme Court to Decide if Land Can be Stolen from Owners Without Compensation?
By Robert Thomas @ 2:51 AM :: 861 Views :: Maui County, Land Use

New Cert Petition: Is Holding Land With No Present Use In The Hope The Government Allows Some Use In The Future An "Economically Beneficial Use" Of Property?

by Robert Thomas, InverseCondemnation, September 11, 2018

Here's the cert petition, filed yesterday, in a case we've been following closely. Here's our short summary of the case, written up when it was ready for argument in the Hawaii Supreme Court. That court's ruling against the property owner added to the the lower court split on the issue of whether the Takings Clause protects an owner's use of property, or the value of property. 

Here's the Question Presented:

In 2000, Douglas Leone and Patricia Perkins-Leone bought beachfront property in Hawaii on which they planned to build a home for their family. The land was zoned for single-family residences, but the County of Maui decided it should be used as a public park. Instead of buying the land, however, the County wielded its regulatory authority to prevent the Leones from developing their property in any way.

The Leones challenged the County's refusal to allow them to use or develop their property as a taking under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments and sought just compensation. In particular, the Leones claimed they had suffered a “categorical” regulatory taking because the County had forced them to keep their land “substantially in its natural state.” Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, 505 U.S. 1003, 1018 (1992). The Hawaii Supreme Court disagreed. It held that, for two reasons, the Leones had not been denied “all economically beneficial or productive use of land.” Id. at 1015. First, the undeveloped property still had “investment use” because the Leones could sell it. Second, the undeveloped property could be used as a beach park at which the Leones potentially could sell concessions.

The question presented is:

Whether holding undeveloped property as an “investment” or using it as a “park” in its natural state constitutes economically beneficial or productive use of land under Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, 505 U.S. 1003 (1992).

Will we be filing an amicus brief? Maybe...maybe

PDF: Petition for a Writ of Certiorari, Leone v. Maui County, No. 18-___ (Sep. 10, 2018)

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