Brown v. City of Medford

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 07-05-2012
  • Case #: A147176
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Schuman, P.J. for the Court; Wollheim, J.; and Nakamoto, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the doctrine of unconstitutional conditions, the government need only impose an unconstitutional condition rather than actual invasion of the property, for the government to have violated a person's constitutional rights. A nexus exists when "the exaction substantially advances the same interests that the city authorities asserted would allow them to deny the permit altogether."

Plaintiff applied with the City of Medford seeking approval to split his land into two lots, a northern lot and southern lot. Plaintiff's plan was approved on the condition that plaintiff give an easement over the southern lot for a future public street to be named "Brady Way." Subsequently, plaintiff filed a complaint, claiming that the city had violated his rights under the Takings Clause of both the U.S. and Oregon Constitution. After the trial court found in favor of the plaintiff, the city appealed arguing three points: (1) plaintiff did not have standing because his claims were not ripe for adjudication, (2) the trial court erred in finding that no "essential nexus" existed and (3) in choosing the wrong date for exaction. First, the Court of Appeals found that under "[t]he doctrine of unconstitutional conditions, plaintiff's constitutional rights were violated when the city reached a final decision on the plan. Second, the Court found that the city had to show (1) what interests allowed the city to deny plaintiff's plan, and (2) how the exaction would serve those interests. Finally, the Court found that similar to its ripeness analysis, the city does not actually have to acquire the property for the date for valuation to be established. Affirmed.

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