Justices Back Fla. Family in Property Rights Case

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The U.S. Supreme Court handed property owners a victory. It ruled Tuesday that governments cannot demand excessive and unreasonable amounts of money for a building permit.

This is a story CBN News has followed for years. The Koontz family bought 15 acres in Florida back in 1972. The state later declared their property as wetlands.

The Koontzes responded by offering to let 11 of the 15 acres stay undeveloped.    

But local bureaucrats demanded the family pay up to $150,000 to upgrade other distant government-owned wetlands. When the family refused, state bureaucrats denied the family a building permit.

Now the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Koontz family.

"The government at times can be a creeping blob, absorbing your rights. And hopefully this will at least put a halt to that," Coy Koontz, Jr., said.

Paul J. Beard II of the Pacific Legal Foundation, the Koontz family's attorney, said the high court put government on notice it cannot turn the land use permitting process into an extortion machine.

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