SCOTUS Backs Property Rights

Another US Supreme Court victory for property rights.  Last week, in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that impact fees must be assessed in a manner that is justifiable for the project at hand.  George Sheetz wanted to build a prefab house on land he owned in El Dorado County, California.  He was assessed an impact fee of over $23,000 to study the traffic impact his construction would have. He paid it, but sued under the fifth amendment’s takings clause.  Lower courts ruled that since this traffic study was based on a law passed by the California legislature, it was okay. But the Supreme Court reversed it stating that it is irrelevant which entity created the law.  It goes back to the lower court now and their decision will change.  So what does this mean for impact fees moving forward?  Legal scholars claim that any impact fees charged will now need to be relevant to the proposed project and limited in scope and price.  

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