Category: OCA Blog
April 16th, 2021 — In OCA Blog
OCA Member’s Recent Win Highlights Growing Concerns Over Damage Caused by Flooding and Water Events
Nearly every week OCA receives one or more phone calls from concerned property owners relating to flooding or other water related events causing significant damage to their property. With climate change and global warming placing ever increasing burdens on our aging public infrastructure, these complaints are likely to continue and even increase. Indeed, OCA member Randall Smith (whose practice in lowlying Louisiana places him at the forefront of this issue) recently won a lawsuit against the City of Mandeville over a municipal drainage project’s impact on land owned by Hilda Maestri Landry. Randall’s lawsuit alleged that the project altered the natural flow of the Ravine Au Coquilles, also known as No Name Bayou, so that it overflowed its natural banks to impact the Landry property. In the court’s judgement recognizing the legitimacy the claim, instead of awarding damages, the court ordered the city to dig out part of the ravine, place backfill, and install pipes to correct the problem. The court also directed the city to do the work with oversight by the owner’s expert and to pay all costs incurred by the landowner. If you are experiencing a floodng event that you believe is the result of government actions, reach out to an OCA member or read this helpful article on OCA’s website, entitled,“My Property is Being Flooded–Is That a Taking That I Can Be Compensated For Under the Constitution?”
April 5th, 2021 — In OCA Blog
ALI-CLE Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation Conference Now Scheduled for 2022
Mark your calendars for the next ALI-CLE Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation Conference to be held in Scottsdale, Arizona at the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch. The conference dates are January 27-29, 2022. Exploring a full range of cutting-edge issues and drawing professionals from across the country, this annual conference is always “the place to be” for all eminent domain and land use practitioners looking to learn from recognized and experienced professionals representing the diverse stakeholders in these cases.
March 3rd, 2021 — In OCA Blog
OCA Member Michael Rikon Inducted into IAOTP’s Hall of Fame
Michael Rikon, OCA’s New York Member and a Partner of Goldstein, Rikon, Rikon & Houghton, P.C., was recently inducted into the exclusive Hall of Fame for 2021 by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP). These special honorees are distinguished based on longevity in their fields of practice, as well as their overall contributions to society. Mr. Rikon is being recognized for this honor based on over 50 years in the legal industry. Mr. Rikon was previously honored at IAOTP’s 2019 Annual Award Gala as Top Attorney of the Year and will again be honored at IAOTP’s 2021 Annual Award Gala at the end of this year. To view Mr. Rikon’s OCA bio and profile, click here. We congratulate Michael on this wonderful honor and deserving recognition.
February 17th, 2021 — In OCA Blog
Considering the Condemnation of Golf Course Land or Golf Facilities-Not So Fast
OCA’s New York member Michael Rikon writes in his Bulldozers at Your DoorStep Blog about the hazards and risks associated with a condemnor seeking to acquire a golf course or lands associated with a golf facility by eminent domain main. “Not so fast,” Mike advises. Before deciding that such actions are a good idea, the condemnor might wish to critically analyze the concept of highest and best use. To learn more about this concept and the part it plays in assessing a parcel’s development potential and resulting fair market value, read Mike’s article here. You might also wish to check out OCA’s Featured article entitled, “A Landowner’s Guide to Understanding the Concept of Highest and Best Use.”
February 3rd, 2021 — In OCA Blog
Anthony DellaPelle Assumes Leadership Role With Great Swamp Watershed Association
OCA’s New Jersey member and property rights attorney Anthony DellaPelle with the law firm of McKirdy Riskin Olson and Dellapelle out of Morris Township was recently elected as the new Board chairman of the Great Swamp Watershed Association. First formed in 1981 as a grassroots organization the Association has grown to serve over 2,200 members in some 40 municipalities within New Jersey. The principle mission of GSWA is to preserve and protect the water and natural areas under its purview. Five streams in the watershed form the Passaic River, which provides potable water for over a million New Jersey residents. “My main objective while serving as Chair is to have GSWA continue its essential work in protecting the watershed,” DellaPelle stated. “I want to increase awareness of the importance of our goals and efforts not only within the Great Swamp region and headwaters, but also in the downstream areas of the Passaic River as a result of the recent expansion of our mission to extend our geographic reach.”
December 18th, 2020 — In News & Events
Hawaii: State Takings Are “Self-Executing” Constitutional Violations (Not Torts Or Breaches Of Contract), Subject To A Six-Year Statute Of Limitations
In DW Aina Lea Dev., LLC v. State of Hawaii Land Use Comm’n, No. SCCQ-19-156 (Dec. 17, 2020), the unanimous Hawaii Supreme Court held that the statute of limitations governing a regulatory takings claim under the Hawaii Constitution’s “takings or damagings” clause is six years. The case started out in a Hawaii state court, and was removed to the U.S. District Court by the State Land Use Commission. The district court dismissed the state takings claim for missing the limitations cut-off. Hawaii has not adopted a statute of limitations expressly for takings or inverse condemnation claims. Thus, the question before Hawaii’s highest court was what is the closest analogue claim. If there isn’t one, Hawaii has a “catch all” statute (six years) for civil claims. For more about the case read OCA member Robert Thomas’ Inverse Condemnation Blog. To read the opinion itself, click here.
December 11th, 2020 — In News & Events
Virginia Supreme Court Rules No Taking in Oystermen Case
In an opinion just released by the Virginia Supreme Court involving OCA members Joshua Baker and Joe Waldo titled Johnson v. City of Suffolk, the court ruled that Virginia oystermen did not present a viable takings claim to obtain compensation when the City of Suffolk and its Sanitation District dumped raw sewage into the Nansemond river and declared a “condemnation zone” (i.e., no oyster harvesting). Specifically, the court concluded that the leases of Commonwealth-owned bottomlands in the Nansemond River did not confer a property interest worthy of constitutional protection. We are obviously disappointed in this ruling and await word as to whether the defendants intend to appeal. For more about the case and the opinion, read Robert Thomas’ Inverse Condemnation Blog.
December 10th, 2020 — In News & Events
Dwight Merriam Chosen By Connect Real Estate News As One of Only 50 Lawyers for 2020 Award
In recognizing Dwight Merriam for its first annual New England Trailblazers publication last year, Connecticut Law Tribune called the four-decade legal veteran “a major figure in American planning law.” Based in Weatogue, CT, Merriam represents land owners, developers, governments, and individuals in land use matters. The Connecticut Law Tribune says Merriam is “one of just a handful of nationally-recognized true planner-lawyers, fully credentialed in both professions.” It was Merriam’s desire to advocate for individual rights that drew him away from pursuing a career in planning to one in the law during his formative years, according to the Tribune.
Merriam is a Fellow and Past President of the American Institute of Certified Planners; a former Director of the American Planning Association; a former chair of APA’s Planning and Law Division; a former chair of the American Bar Association’s national Section of State and Local Government Law; the Connecticut member of Owners’ Counsel of America; a former Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors; a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation; a member of the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute National Advisory Board; a Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation; a Counselor of Real Estate; a member of the AARPI, and a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.
Merriam has taught land use law at the University of Memphis, the University of Bridgeport, Vermont Law School, the University of Connecticut School of Law, and the Quinnipiac University School of Law. Merriam has published more than 200 articles and 13 books. He is lead author of the leading casebook in his field, Planning and Control of Land Development, and co-editor of the leading treatise in the field, Rathkopf’s The Law of Zoning and Planning 4th.
November 21st, 2020 — In OCA Blog
Virginia Statute Allowing Electrical Easements to be Use for Broadband Challenged as Unconstitutional
After the Virginia General Assembly passed House Bill 831 authorizing utility companies to use existing “easements for the location and use of electric and communications facilities,” OCA’s Virginia member, Joshua Baker, filed suit, asserting that the law amounts to an unconstitutional taking of property rights without compensation and a denial of due process. Mr. Baker seeks a repeal of the legislation as part of the lawsuit. Mr. Baker explains that the property owners he represents, “are essentially giving up additional rights for for-profit companies to use their land,” but without being compensated for such rights. To read more about the case and the Complaint that was filed go to Robert Thomas’Inverse Condemnation Blog.
October 30th, 2020 — In News & Events
Announcing OCA and PLF Joint Webinar on Shutdowns, Closures, Moratoria, and Bans
Since the beginning of the pandemic we have seen Governors and State Legislatures across the country implement an array of policies in an attempt to contain the virus and its socioeconomic impacts. Many of these policies effectively broadened the scope of government power while placing a heavy burden on property owners and businesses already struggling during the COVID 19 pandemic. Jim Burling from Pacific Legal Foundation and Robert Thomas from Owners’ Counsel of America will explore these COVID related policies and legal challenges. Topics to be covered include:
- The constitutional implications of emergency orders restricting property and business owners
- The rights and legal status of property and business owners impacted by emergency orders
- Past, current and upcoming litigation challenging emergency orders