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Aspen v. City of Flagstaff

November 11, 2014

Just over six years ago, Arizona voters overwhelmingly approved the Private Property Rights Protection Act (aka Prop. 207), to secure meaningful protection for their property rights.  State constitutional protections against eminent domain abuse had proven insufficient to safeguard property rights, because courts often allowed governments to reduce owners’ rights to use their property without providing compensation.  The voters’ solution was to enact Prop. 207, which gives property owners a right to compensation for regulations that reduce their property values along with the ability to enforce those rights in court.

No longer able to pass the costs of regulations to individual property owners, governments like the City of Flagstaff evade paying just compensation by blocking property owners’ access to the courts.  After an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the property owner in this case from enforcing his rights, Flagstaff is again trying to avoid Prop. 207 by arguing that property owners should have less time than set by statute to file a lawsuit for just compensation.  Unfortunately, the Court of Appeals has sided with the city and against the intent of the voters, effectively shortening the deadline to sue under Prop. 207 by three months and blocking the property owner in this case from enforcing his rights in court.

The Goldwater Institute is asking the Supreme Court to hear this case because allowing the Court of Appeals decision to stand will erode Prop 207’s protections and signal to cities that they can make an end run around Arizona voters.



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