Dolan v. City of Tigard, 512 U.S. 374 (1994)

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certiorari to the supreme court of oregon

No. 93-518. Argued March 23, 1994—Decided June 24, 1994

The City Planning Commission of respondent city conditioned approval of petitioner Dolan's application to expand her store and pave her parking lot upon her compliance with dedication of land (1) for a public greenway along Fanno Creek to minimize flooding that would be exacerbated by the increases in impervious surfaces associated with her development and (2) for a pedestrian/ bicycle pathway intended to relieve traffic congestion in the city's Central Business District. She appealed the commission's denial of her request for variances from these standards to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA), alleging that the land dedication requirements were not related to the proposed development and therefore constituted an uncompensated taking of her property under the Fifth Amendment. LUBA found a reasonable relationship between (1) the development and the requirement to dedicate land for a greenway, since the larger building and paved lot would increase the impervious surfaces and thus the runoff into the creek, and (2) alleviating the impact of increased traffic from the development and facilitating the provision of a pathway as an alternative means of transportation. Both the Oregon Court of Appeals and the Oregon Supreme Court affirmed.

Held: The city's dedication requirements constitute an uncompensated taking of property. Pp. 383-396. (a) Under the well-settled doctrine of "unconstitutional conditions," the government may not require a person to give up a constitutional right in exchange for a discretionary benefit conferred by the government where the property sought has little or no relationship to the benefit. In evaluating Dolan's claim, it must be determined whether an "essential nexus" exists between a legitimate state interest and the permit condition. Nollan v. California Coastal Comm'n, 483 U. S. 825, 837. If one does, then it must be decided whether the degree of the exactions demanded by the permit conditions bears the required relationship to the projected impact of the proposed development. Id., at 834. Pp. 383-386. (b) Preventing flooding along Fanno Creek and reducing traffic congestion in the district are legitimate public purposes; and a nexus exists between the first purpose and limiting development within the creek's

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