Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council, Inc. v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency

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In Tahoe-Sierra Pres. Council, Inc. v. Tahoe Reg'l Planning Agency, 535 U.S. 302 (2002), the U.S. Supreme Court held that a 32-month moratorium on construction did not implicate the Takings Clause and require "just compensation" to the owners.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote this decision against the rights of property owners:

It may well be true that any moratorium that lasts for more than one year should be viewed with special skepticism. But given the fact that the District Court found that the 32 months required by TRPA to formulate the 1984 Regional Plan was not unreasonable, we could not possibly conclude that every delay of over one year is constitutionally unacceptable. 36 Formulating a general rule of this kind is a suitable task for state legislatures. 37 In our view, the duration of the restriction is one of the important factors that a court must consider in the appraisal of a regulatory takings claim, but with respect to that factor as with respect to other factors, the "temptation to adopt what amount to per se rules in either direction must be resisted." Palazzolo, 533 U.S. at 636 (O'CONNOR, J., concurring). There may be moratoria that last longer than one year which interfere with reasonable investment-backed expectations, but as the District Court's opinion illustrates, petitioners' proposed rule is simply "too blunt an instrument," for identifying those cases. Id. at 628. We conclude, therefore, that the interest in "fairness and justice" will be best served by relying on the familiar Penn Central approach when deciding cases like this, rather than by attempting to craft a new categorical rule.

Only Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented. They sided with the property owners and would have required compensation for the lost use of their property.