Michael Murphy


This Article examines the practical and legal consequences of the Florida's Property Rights Act on its growth management system. Responding to a vocal property rights movement, in 1995 Florida enacted one of the most far reaching property rights compensation measures to date. The new law allows property owners to seek compensation for any governmental action that "inordinately burdens" the use of their property, a threshold below the requirement for a constitutional takings claim. Ten years earlier, Florida enacted a comprehensive growth management system aimed at protecting Florida's dwindling natural resources and preserving the quality of life enjoyed by the state's citizens. The reality of smaller fiscal resources available to government at both the state and local levels leaves the property rights law in inherent conflict with growth management goals. Historically, a variety of land use ethics have guided our land use decisions. Two ethics in particular, opportunity and responsibility, seem wholly irreconcilable on the surface, however, both are, in fact, inseparable when considered in the inter-generational context of sustainable development. These ethics serve as a guide to the supporters of both growth management and property rights protection. This Article explores some of the practical impacts of the new property rights law on growth management and argues that if Florida's citizens ignore these fundamental ethics by blindly applying the new property rights measure, its growth management goals will not be realized.