Emory Law Journal


Kristin N. Ward


This Comment analyzes the Supreme Court¿s opinion in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, and critiques the Court¿s language regarding environmental protection and local government regulation. In sum, the Koontz opinion reveals that the Court is unsympathetic to environmental protection at the local level, and is suspicious of local government¿s ability to make reasoned land-use decisions without extorting unfair value from property owners. The Court¿s doubtful attitude regarding the validity of wetlands protection and local government regulation are unsupported by the relevant scholarship. Next, this Comment argues that applying the formulaic takings test prescribed in Koontz has the negative effect of reducing procedural flexibility for local land-use decision-makers. Acknowledging Koontz as the new reality for local governments, local officials will need to adapt to the changes imposed by expanding the Nollan-Dolan test to permit denials, and address the confusion caused by issues the Court left open in the opinion. This Comment recommends a new ¿negotiated permitting¿ procedure as a strategy to limit potentially expanded takings liability under Koontz.