Thomas and Nedra Burnham (plaintiffs) had owned property in Monroe County (defendant) in Florida since 1967. The Burnhams submitted their application for a building permit in 1992, after Monroe County’s rate-of-growth ordinance (ROGO) became effective. Under ROGO, Monroe County allocated building permits only to applicants who had accumulated the most points possible for sustainable-design features. The Burnhams’ construction plans did not qualify for enough points under ROGO to entitle the Burnhams to a building permit. Monroe County repeatedly told the Burnhams that they could obtain a building permit simply by incorporating minor additions into their plans. The Burnhams did not make these changes, however, and instead filed suit, claiming that ROGO had effected a taking by inverse condemnation that was unconstitutional. The trial court held that there was no taking, because Monroe County had not deprived the Burnhams of all beneficial use of the property. The trial court further held that ROGO was constitutional. The Burnhams appealed.