U.S. Supreme Court to hear Florida beachfront property rights case

Legal News for Florida government lawyers. Stop the Beach Renourishment Inc. vs. Florida case to be heard in the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Florida constitutional property rights case to be heard in U.S. Supreme Court.

Tallahassee, FL– An ongoing legal battle between the State of Florida and a group of beachfront property owners who feel their constitutional property rights have been ignored will be discussed in the U.S. Supreme Court this Wednesday, December 2, 2009. The case is being referred to as “Stop the Beach Renourishment Inc. vs. Florida”.

In 2004, the State of Florida won the Florida Supreme Court case on the matter of adding new sand to eroding beaches in order to protect homeowners from storm damage; and thus would also to create public beaches that would improve one of Florida’s top industries, tourism. After going through with such restoration projects as this one, private beachfront property owners argue that the state court disregarded their property rights without compensation for their losses.

The six private beachfront homeowners involved in this case allegedly argue that they specifically paid extra for waterfront property as a pose to water-view property, yet since tax dollars and government funding went into such renovations, these beaches are to be considered public property. Therefore, these private beaches no longer extend to the water, but rather a newly created public beach. These beachfront owners allegedly claim that through the Florida Supreme Court ruling in 2004, state judges violated their constitutional rights by wrongfully taking a portion of what they considered their own private property, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

On another note, the State of Florida argues that since private property normally extends to the high-water line (where the area generally covered in dry sand ends), adding new sand to the area beyond this dry sand would inevitably be creating new public property, therefore compensation granted to these homeowners would be unwarranted.

Millions of taxpayer dollars have helped restore these eroded beaches, helping both beachfront homeowners by giving them further protection from storm weather. Also by adding new public beaches, it could aid the state economy by attracting more tourists to the area. However, once these property rights have been specifically defined before the U.S. Supreme Court, the question remains, were the constitutional rights of these homeowners overlooked by state judges in the first hearing?

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for Florida government lawyers.

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