Local governments may have to compensate landowners who are denied permits to develop their land, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, weighing in on an 18-year-long legal dispute over a 15-acre parcel east of Orlando, Reuters reports.

Coy Koontz had previously been awarded $327,500 after arguing that limits imposed by a water management district were a “taking.” Although Florida’s high court overturned the award, the Supreme Court said that decision was wrong, because governments cannot condition land use permits that deny owners use of some of their property without demonstrating a connection between the limitations they impose and the impact of the proposed use.

The decision will also subject government fees or other payments that are conditions of permit approvals to heightened scrutiny.

An attorney who argued Koontz’s appeal, Paul Beard, said the decision means “governments don’t have carte blanche anymore to say, ‘Give us $100,000 and we’ll give you a permit.’ ” The Atlantic Cities blog called the ruling a “huge win” for developers. Source: reuters.com.

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