In January the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the case of Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District. At issue is a legal battle dating back to 1994 where a Florida regulatory agency refused to permit the commercial development of a small piece of property unless the owner first agreed to transfer the title to 75 percent of the lot to the government and also fund costly and unrelated improvements to 50 acres of public land located miles away. Had the owner agreed to pay up, the agency admits, “the exact project [he] proposed would have been permitted.” But the owner refused to pay what he saw as an extortionate demand and instead brought suit, charging the agency with violating his rights. Reason.com Managing Editor Damon Root reports on the case.
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