'Takings' takes a hit

  The state can block development that threatens Native American burial mounds, the Iowa Supreme Court has ruled. The court rejected an argument that to block such developments would weaken property rights, reports AP. The dispute began when developers bought a 59-acre tract in rural Story County, Iowa, to develop a pricey subdivision. When developers sold a lot for $50,000 and the buyer began building, however, a burial mound holding human bones was found dating back at least 1,000 years. The lot was declared off-limits to development and the builder was refunded the purchase price. But the developers sued the state, demanding compensation because the property had become "worthless." In a 4-1 decision, the court rejected that argument, pointing to a legitimate state interest in preserving historical sites. "Land-use regulation does not effect a "taking" requiring compensation if it substantially advances a legitimate state purpose," the court said. State laws protecting historical sites, it noted, had been on the books for a dozen years before the developers bought the land.

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