Guide to takings law

  In 1986, David Lucas purchased two coastal lots in South Carolina for $1 million. Two years later the state legislature passed the South Carolina Beachfront Management Act, which prohibited Lucas from developing his property because his homes would have been too close to the ocean. Lucas sued the state of South Carolina and eventually took his case to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled government regulation cannot destroy the economic value of private property without compensating the owner. Due to this landmark "takings' case, landowners are increasingly citing the last clause of the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits the taking of private property for public use "without just compensation," says the Boulder, Colo.-based Land and Water Fund of the Rockies. The group recently published a 27-page primer, Takings Law: A Guide to Government, Property, and the Constitution, and in it Kate Zimmerman and David Abelson review key takings cases to define the differences between property use limitation and actual "takings." Most of the time, say the writers, governments reward property owners with "givings." Takings Law costs $4 from the LAW Fund, 2260 Baseline Road, Suite 200, Boulder, CO 80302 (303/786-8054).


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