HAWICA: Plaintiff Need Not Change The Law To Ripen Takings Claim Under Williamson County
by Robert Thomas, InverseCondemnation.com
This just in: in Leone v. County of Maui, No. 29696 (June 22, 2012), the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals held that a plaintiff alleging a regulatory taking is not required to seek an amendment to a Community Plan in order to ripen her claim. A CP amendment is a legislative act, and plaintiffs are not required to try to change the law before they seeks just compensation.
The trial court determined the plaintiffs' regulatory takings claims were not ripe because they should have tried to change offending land use regulations which allegedly deprive their property of all economically beneficial uses. The trial court's decision is available here.
Disclosure: we filed an amicus brief in the case in support of the property owner, arguing that Williamson County Regional Planning Comm'n v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, 473 U.S. 172 (1985) does not require a takings plaintiff to attempt to change the law to ripen her claim. The ICA adopted that reasoning, concluding:
Because a Community Plan amendment is not an administrative act, it cannot reasonably be required as a step in reaching a final agency determination for ripeness purposes. Ripeness requires only that landowners take advantage of any available variances or waivers under existing law; it does not require them to undertake changing the law itself.
Slip op. at 21 (citations omitted).
More to follow once we've had a chance to digest the opinion in detail.
Leone v. County of Maui, No. 29696 (Haw Ct App June 22, 2012)