Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council Essay

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Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council

Problem: David H. Lucas purchased two beach front lots on Isle of Palms in Charleston county in 1986 for 900,000 with intent to later build one single family home on each lot. The following year when South Carolina conducted a survey of the coast line the rustles showed that the beaches of South Carolina were critically eroding. Due to the rustles of the survey South Carolina issued the Beachfront Management Act (BMA). The act placed restraints on the usage of land along the coast line, and because the building line was moved inward Lucas' lots were affected with no exceptions provided. When he bought those lots the year before that particular …show more content…

The court agreed that Lucas had suffered a total loss of the value of his property and concluded that regulatory taking had occurred. On appeal, the South Carolina Supreme Court revised the decision, on the grounds that the BMA had been passed to prevent serious harm to the public. Lucas petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case and the Court sided with Lucas saying that the Beachfront Management Act of 1988 had not been designed to benefit the state in obtaining land for public use, but was to prevent harm to the public. The Court ruled that Lucas suffered a taking, and that his property was rendered valueless by South Carolina statue and that he was entitled to just compensation as stated in the fifth and fourteen adamants of our Constitution. Significance: Although the South Carolina Supreme Court decided that state regulations were designed to prevent serious public harm, the U.S. Supreme Court held that when a property owner suffered a taking, there were no exceptions from common rule ( the Takings Clause and the just Compensation Clause). Furthermore, when the state of South Carolina amended its original statute by including provisions that might permit limited construction, the U.S. Supreme Court held that property owners must still be compensated. Even when legislation later renders the initial act less restrictive,

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