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Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection

United States Supreme Court
560 U.S. 702 (2010)


Facts

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (Department) (defendant) granted the city of Destin and Walton County, Florida a permit to restore a portion of oceanfront beach by adding 75 feet of dry sand to the ocean side of the mean high-water line (i.e., the average reach of high tide, which is also the boundary between privately-owned property and state-owned property). Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc., a group of beachfront property owners in the project’s area (plaintiffs), brought suit, alleging that the project constituted an uncompensated taking under the Fifth Amendment. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that the project infringed upon their rights to receive natural accretions to their property—which they were entitled to under state law—because after the project’s completion, the accretions would occur beyond the boundary line and would be reaped by the state, rather than the plaintiffs. In addition, the plaintiffs claimed that the project took their right to have their property contact the ocean directly. The District Court of Appeal for the First District ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor, but the Florida Supreme Court reversed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Scalia, J.)

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Concurrence (Kennedy, J.)

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Concurrence (Breyer, J.)

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