Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Case of the Week

Zimmerman v. Hudson (Supreme Court of Kansas)

Facts:  Plaintiffs and intervenors either own property in Wabaunsee County or have purchased wind rights to properties in Wasaunsee County.  They all hoped to develop private land into large-scale commercial windfarms. However, the Board of County Commissioners amended the zoning code to prohibit commercial windfarms.  Plaintiffs brought suit, alleging a taking under the Fifth Amendment and a violation of the Commerce Clause.

Holding:  Plaintiffs had no constitutioanlly protected property interest.  The court reasoned that no property right existed because Plaintiffs would have needed to apply for a conditional use permit to set-up a commercial wind farm before the Board altered the zoning code.  The court remanded the case for more hearings on the question of whether the burden imposed on interstate commerce is clearly excessive in relation to the putative local benefits.

Steve Clowney

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