Must be a “Property Owner” to Avail Yourself of the Bert J. Harris, Jr. Private Property Rights Protection Act
In a prior article, I discussed the Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act. This Act is designed to provide statutory protection to a property owner when governmental action inordinately burdens (directly restricts or limits) the owner’s use of their property without the governmental action amounting to a taking. Vale v. Palm Beach County, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2591a (Fla. 4th DCA 2018). This Act, however, does NOT apply if governmental action does not inordinately burden YOUR property, i.e., property you own.
For example, in Vale, a group of homeowners purchased property in a planned used development next to a golf course. The golf course was part of the planned unit development but the homeowners did not own the golf course. The development of the golf course was unsuccessful and it was rezoned for residential development. The homeowners sued the County under the Act claiming that the rezoning inordinately burdened their property by diminishing the value of their homes, which they anticipated to be next to a golf course. The trial court, as affirmed by the appellate court, dismissed this argument because the homeowners did not own the golf course: “As it is undisputed that plaintiffs do not hold legal title to the former golf course, they are not ‘property owners’ as contemplated under the Act.” Vale, supra. Hence, the homeowners did not have standing under the Act to sue the County based on the rezoning of the golf course.
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