The Jury's In
Property rights advocates had cause to celebrate yesterday as the Supreme Court ruled that landowners who sue local governments over their land use regulations can be entitled to a jury trial. The case concerned a California developer whose plans to build a residential complex were rejected by the City of Monterey, which said the beachfront property in question was environmentally sensitive and provided habitat to a variety of species, including an endangered butterfly. A jury found that the city’s action amounted to a regulatory “taking” of the property and awarded $1.45 million to the developer. Monterey protested that the landowner was not entitled to a jury trial, but the Supreme Court disagreed.