Washington Law Review


The Supreme Court has held that if a government body regulates land to such an extent that it effectively takes the property, then it must pay just compensation to the landowner. Even if the government elects to rescind the offending regulation, it still must provide compensation to the owner for the duration of the regulatory taking. Unfortunately, the Court has had no occasion to determine when such temporary regulatory takings become effective and when they terminate, and the lower courts only rarely have reached these difficult remedial questions. This Article seeks to pinpoint precisely when a temporary regulatory taking begins and ends. After examining the few clues that the Supreme Court has provided, the Article proposes a model that accords with this limited case law but that offers substantially more guidance than the Court has managed to furnish so far. The Article then tests this model by examining the extent to which it conforms to the small number of lower court opinions to address these issues. The model proposed here will be useful to property owners, planners, and regulators who wish to determine the use of land; to the attorneys who must advise them; to the judges who must resolve their disputes; and to legal scholars who continue to struggle to find some coherence in takings law.

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