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State Court Docket Watch: Lynch et al., v. California Coastal Commission

Larry Salzman July 14, 2017
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In Lynch et al., v. California Coastal Commission, the California Supreme Court this month raised a procedural hurdle for property owners pursuing challenges to unlawful permit conditions. Property owners who wish to contest a permit condition imposed by a state agency must delay any work on their project until final adjudication of the challenge.

In 2010, Barbara Lynch and Thomas Frick sought a permit to rebuild a seawall that protected their coastal homes from erosion and other natural hazards when a storm destroyed the original bluff protection. The Coastal Commission has a statutory duty to permit seawalls when necessary to protect homes and other existing structures on private property. [Read More]

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With the Supreme Court's Abandonment, it's Time for States to Protect Property Rights

Christina Sandefur June 26, 2017
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Private property is a critical ingredient in freedom. That’s why the U.S. Constitution refers to it more than any other right—it protects our “homes” and “things,” and forbids government from taking our property away without paying just compensation.  Unfortunately, in a 5-3 opinion on Friday, the Supreme Court largely washed its hands of serious legal protections for property owners—a decision that rivals the infamous 2005 Kelo decision in its betrayal of constitutional guarantees. Now, more than ever, states must take it in their hands to shield citizens against government abuse. [Read More]

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New York City Skyline
Photo Credit: Photo by Lesekreis via Wikimedia Commons. (link)

"The beautiful neighborhoods we could never build again"

Christina Sandefur August 11, 2016
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To commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the nation’s first zoning code, the New York Times featured this fascinating infographic illustrating which buildings in Manhattan couldn’t be built again today because of the Big Apple’s zoning restrictions (spoiler alert: nearly 40 percent wouldn’t make the cut). The reasons range from being too tall, to having too many apartments or businesses.

Cities should focus their zoning efforts on enforcing legitimate rules against nuisance instead of passing broad restrictions that impose bureaucrats’ preferred aesthetic and social values and violate the rights of property owners. [Read More]

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Protecting Property Rights in the Sharing Economy

Christina Sandefur June 24, 2016
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New York lawmakers recently voted to crack down on home-sharing, punishing people who post online advertisements for allowing guests to spend the night in their apartments.

Last month, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a law that stops local governments from turning responsible property owners into outlaws simply because they allow paying guests to stay in their homes. The law, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and is the first law of its kind in the country, ensures regulations on home-sharing are limited to true health and safety concerns. [Read More]

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People playing with RC quadrocopter toy (drone)
Photo Credit: Dollar Photo Club | lisovoy (link)

Video: Drones and Property Rights

Timothy Courtney April 22, 2016
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Gregory S. McNeal, Associate Professor of Law and Public Policy at Pepperdine School of Law, discusses some property rights questions that are associated with drone use. Do property owners own the air above their property? Can they destroy a drone that flies onto their property? How should disputes between property owners and drone users be settled?

Catch up on the issue with part 1 and part 2 of Professor McNeal's video on the law and policy issues surrounding drone use.