Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council Inc. v. Tahoe Regional Planning Council
535 U.S. 302 (2002)

  • California and Nevada created the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) to plan the development of the Lake Tahoe basin. TRPA issued two moratoriums on virtually all residential development within the basin.
    • The first moratorium lasted roughly 24 months and the second lasted about 8 months until the TRPA had adopted its comprehensive land-use plan.
  • People who owned real estate within the jurisdiction of the TRPA didn’t think the moratoria were fair. They formed TSPCI and sued on the grounds that the moratoria were in fact takings, and were barred under the 5th Amendment without just compensation.
  • The Trial Court found for TSPCI.  TRPA appealed.
    • The Trial Court found that even though the land retained some value during the period of the moratoria the landowners were temporarily completely deprived of any economic use of their land, therefore a taking had occurred.
  • The Appellate Court reversed.  TSPCI appealed.
    • The Appellate Court found that since the moratoria had only temporary impact on the landowners property no taking occurred and no compensation was required.
  • The US Supreme Court affirmed.
    • The US Supreme Courtfound that a fee simple estate cannot be rendered valueless by a temporary prohibition on the economic use, because the property will recover value as soon as the prohibition is lifted.
    • Similar to Penn Central Transportation Company v. City of New York (438 U.S. 104 (1978)), this goes to the issue of conceptual severance.  You can’t argue that you’ve lost 100% of a part of the value of the property.
    • In order to be considered a taking, you generally have to argue that you’ve lost 100% of the value of the property.
      • See Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council (505 U.S. 1003 (1992)).