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Agins v. Tiburon, City of

Citation: 10 ELR 20361
No. No. 79-602, 447 U.S. 255/14 ERC 1555/(U.S., 06/10/1980) Aff'd

The United States Supreme Court affirms a decision by the California Supreme Court, 9 ELR 20260, that two municipal zoning ordinances aimed at preserving open space do not represent a facially unconstitutional taking of appellants' property without just compensawtion. The Court determines that the challenged ordinances substantially advance the legitimate governmental goal of providing for open space areas in plans for the development of residential property. Appellants, moreover, may be able to build between one and five houses on their five-acre tract and will in any case share both the benefits and the burdens of the ordinances with other landowners in the city. Having found the ordinances facially valid, the Court rules that there is as yet no concrete controversy regarding their constitutionality as applied because appellants have not submitted a proposed plan for the development of their property. The Court also rejects the claim that the city's preliminary planning activities and later abortive attempt to acquire the land through eminent domain proceedings constituted a taking of the property, noting that fluctuations in value during the process of governmental decision making are merely incidents of ownership. Because no taking has occurred, the Court states that it need not consider the state court's ruling that a person whose land has been taken may seek to invalidate the challenged action but may not recover damages in inverse condemnation.

Counsel for Appellants
Gideon Kanner
P.O. Box 5133, Sherman Oaks CA 91403
(213) 642-2911

John P. Pollock
Pollock, Williams, Berwanger & Harris
800 W. Sixth St., Suite 820, Los Angeles CA 90017
(213) 485-0241

Reginald G. Hearn
100 California St., Suite 926, San Francisco CA 94111
(415) 982-1914

Counsel for Appellee
Robert I. Conn, Deputy City Attorney; Gary T. Ragghianti
1534 Fifth St., San Rafael CA 94901
(415) 453-9433

Counsel for Amici Curiae Conservation Foundation et al.
David Bonderman
Arnold & Porter
1200 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 872-6700