At its October 16th meeting, the Maryland Planning Directors’ Roundtable held a panel discussion on the potential impact of the United States Supreme Court holding in the case of Koontz v. St. John’s River Water Management District. The panel included: (1) Gus Bauman, Of Counsel for Beveridge & Diamond, PC; (2) Maryland Attorney General Chief Counsel for Opinions and Advice Adam Snyder; (3) Howard County Deputy Solicitor Paul Johnson; and (4) Maryland Department of Planning Assistant Attorney General Paul Cucuzzella.
The Koontz case deals with the and exactions that can be required when granting a building or development permit. In prior rulings, the Court has held that there must be a direct connection or nexus between the impact of the development and the effect of the exaction. Additionally, the exaction must be roughly proportional to the impact of the development. If there is no nexus or proportionality, the effect is a taking and is subject to just compensation. In Koontz, the Court ruled that the previously established test applies to requested exactions even where a permit is denied and also applies to cash exactions.
The panel noted that the impact of Koontz is still unclear as the Court did not did directly address how the case applies to different situations, such as impact fees, adequate public facilities ordinances, or offsite exactions. The panel did not comment on how the case may affect the State’s pending Accounting for Growth Policy. Panelists did stress the need for government entities requesting an exaction to be able to document its nexus and proportionality.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, a presentation on the Koontz case was also given by attorney Kurt Fischer at MACo’s Administrators and Attorneys Conference on October 9. Mr. Fischer’s presentation is available here.