Property owners lose at U.S. Supreme Court in development case

Mortgage

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to property-rights advocates, ruling against four siblings who said they were unconstitutionally barred from building on a Wisconsin riverfront lot.

The justices, voting 5-3, said a Wisconsin state court was right to throw out the family’s suit, which centered on the constitutional prohibition against government taking of private property without just compensation.

In rejecting the Murr family’s bid for compensation, the Wisconsin court pointed to an adjacent lot that is also owned by the family and already has a cabin on it. The family has owned the two lots on the St. Croix River since the 1960s.

A 1978 Supreme Court decision says courts should look at “the parcel as a whole” when considering whether land-use regulations are so severe they require compensation to the owner.


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