Environmental Law: Nollan Vs. Ccc – Сustom Literature essay

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Environmental Law: Nollan vs. CCCAbstract of:483 U. S. 825, 97 L. Ed.2d 677James Patrick Nollan, etux., Appellantv. California CoastalCommission. Case Definition:The case is Nollan versus the California Coastal Commission. TheNollans were the appellates against a decision made by the California CoastalCommission (CCC).The Nollans had been leasing a property on the California coast withwhich they had an option to buy. The property lies directly at the foot of thePacific Ocean and is a prime piece of real estate on the California Coast.

Theproperty had been used by the Nollans to rent out during the summer months tovacationers. At the end of the Nollans' lease they took the option to purchasethe land and began preparing for the terms of purchase by the previous landowner. Among those terms was the demolishing of the small deterioratingbungalow that the Nollans had been leasing. The Nollans had planned to expandthe structure from the small bungalow that it was to a three bedroom house morecomplimentary to the surrounding homes and their needs. In order to begindestruction of the property and begin rebuilding the site the Nollans had tosecure a permit from the California Coastal Commission

Upon submitting thepermit application, the CCC found that the permit should be granted on thecondition that the Nollans provide public access to the beach and to the localcounty park, which lay adjacent to the property. This provision called for theNollans to use a portion of their land to be used as a public walkway to thebeach and park. The Nollans protested to the condition, but the CCC overruledthe objection and granted the permit with the condition intact. Case Decision:The Nollans filed a petition to the Ventura County Superior Court askingthat the condition to supply easement be removed from their permit. TheNollans' argument was that there was not enough evidence to support thedevelopments limiting of public access to the beach. The argument was agreedupon by the court and the case was remanded to the California Coastal Commissionfor a full evidentiary hearing on the issue of public access to the beach. The CCC held a public hearing which led to further factual findingswhich reaffirmed the need for the condition.

The CCC's argument was that thebuilding of the new structure would limit view of the ocean, and therefore limitaccess to the public who had full rights to use the beach. To compensate forthe limitations on the public the Nollans would have to provide access to thebeach from their property. The CCC also noted that all of the otherdevelopments on the same tract of land had been conditioned similarly in havingto provide public access to the ocean. The Nollans filed a supplemental petition for a writ of administrativemandamus (a writ that would order a public official or body to comply with aspecified duty issued by a superior court). The Nollans argument was that thepermit condition violated the Takings Clause in the V Amendment, and also in theXIV Amendment of the Constitution. The court agreed that the administrative record did not provide for inshowing the existence of adverse impact on the publics' access to the ocean. The court granted the writ of mandamus, and directed that the public accesscondition be removed from the permit. The CCC appealed the case in the California Court of Appeal and won thedecision. The Court of Appeal found an error in the Supreme Courtsinterpretation of the Coastal Act which mandates public access to any categoryof developments on the coast. The Court of Appeal also found that the Takingsclaim was unsubstantiated by the Nollans.

The permit condition did take fromthe value of the land, but did not restrict them of reasonable use of theirproperty. The Nollans then appealed to the United States Supreme Court. Theargument made by the Nollans continued to revolve around the Takings Clause inthe V Amendment. The Supreme Court found that the requirement of the permitonly put a restriction on the use of the property and not a "taking" of theproperty. The Supreme Court also held the California State Constitution to havestanding, and upheld the ruling made by the Court of Appeals. Reasoning for Decision:I believe that the reason the Supreme Court decided as it did was thatits interpretation of the California State Constitution provided for theauthority of the CCC's permit regulation. The part within the statesconstitution says that access to any navigable waters shall not be limited byany person when it is required for any public purpose.

The "navigable water"clause infers the actual use of the water and not the beach itself. The SupremeCourt did not want to make a case of this for intervening in states'constitutions is nasty business; and there was not a big deal concerning thelanguage of the law from either of the parties. I think that a similar casecould be argued attacking the Constitution of the State of California concerningthe navigable waters clause. I would still have to agree with the CCC's permitcondition of allowing public access to the beach, because I like the beach andam in no position to purchase land bordering it so I need access.

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