TAHOE-SIERRA PRESERVATION COUNCIL v. TAHOE REGIONAL PLANNING AGENCY

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
00-1167
Petitioner 
Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council
Respondent 
Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the petitioners)
(Argued the cause for the respondents)
(Argued the cause on behalf of the United States, as amicus curiae, supporting the respondents)
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Facts of the Case 

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) imposed two moratoria from August 24, 1981, until August 26, 1983 and from August 27, 1983, until April 25, 1984, totaling 32 months, on development in the Lake Tahoe Basin while formulating a comprehensive land-use plan for the area. Real estate owners affected by the moratoria and an association representing such owners, including the Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council, Inc., filed suits, claiming that TRPA's actions constituted a taking of their property without just compensation. The District Court found that TRPA had not effected a partial taking; however, it concluded that the moratoria did constitute a categorical taking because TRPA temporarily deprived real estate owners of all economically viable use of their land. In reversing, the Court of Appeals held that because the regulations had only a temporary impact, no categorical taking had occurred.

Question 

Does a moratorium on development imposed during the process of devising a comprehensive land-use plan constitutes a per se taking of property requiring compensation under the Fifth Amendment's Takings Clause?

Conclusion 
Decision: 6 votes for Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Takings Clause

No. In a 6-3 opinion delivered by Justice John Paul Stevens, the Court held that that the mere enactment of the regulations implementing the moratoria did not constitute a per se taking of the landowners' property. The Court reasoned that whether a taking occurred depended upon the considerations of landowners' expectations, actual impact, public interest, and reasons for the moratoria. Moreover, the Court concluded that the adoption of a categorical rule that any deprivation of all economic use, no matter how brief, constituted a compensable taking would impose unreasonable financial obligations upon governments for the normal delays involved in processing land use applications. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist filed a dissenting opinion that was joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justice Thomas also filed a dissenting opinion joined by Justice Scalia.

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TAHOE-SIERRA PRESERVATION COUNCIL v. TAHOE REGIONAL PLANNING AGENCY. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 20 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2001/2001_00_1167>.
TAHOE-SIERRA PRESERVATION COUNCIL v. TAHOE REGIONAL PLANNING AGENCY, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2001/2001_00_1167 (last visited October 20, 2014).
"TAHOE-SIERRA PRESERVATION COUNCIL v. TAHOE REGIONAL PLANNING AGENCY," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 20, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2001/2001_00_1167.