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Suitum v. Tahoe Reg'l Planning Agency

ELR Citation: 26 ELR 21300
Nos. 94-15768, 80 F.3d 359/(9th Cir., 04/01/1996)

The court holds that a landowner's takings claim against a regional land planning agency is unripe. A regional development plan specifies four criteria that a landowner must meet before building a single-family residence: a numerical score under an evaluation system that is above a certain number, a residential development right, adequate land coverage, and a residential allocation. The agency determined that plaintiff-appellant's property was located entirely within a stream environment zone, and assigned it a zero score under the evaluation system. The court holds that plaintiff-appellant must apply for the transfer of her development rights through the regional planning program before her claim is ripe. Without such an application, the regional land planning agency is foreclosed from determining the extent of the use of her property, and the court cannot know whether the local land planning regulations have gone too far. Noting that the value of plaintiff-appellant's development rights increases by approximately $30,000 with an allocation right, the court holds that plaintiff-appellant failed to meet her burden of showing that participation in the development rights transfer program is futile. The court rejects her suggestion that because the program is not designed to give her just compensation, she need not participate in it to demonstrate ripeness. Finally, the court rejects the agency's request for attorney fees, because plaintiff-appellant's claim was not frivolous or groundless.

Counsel for Plaintiff
William P. Cashill
Law Offices of William P. Cashill
410 California Ave., Reno NV 89509
(702) 334-4444

Counsel for Defendant
J. Thomas Susich
Crowell, Susich, Owen & Tackes
510 W. 4th St., Carson City NV 89703
(702) 882-1311

Before: SCHROEDER and ALARCON, Circuit Judges, and PANNER,* District Court Judge.