Description: Takings claim against county that prohibited construction in floodway.
Columbia Venture, LLC v. Richland County
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 08/12/2015 Opinion Download Opinion issued. South Carolina Supreme Court Found That Floodway Restrictions on Development Were Not a Regulatory Taking. The South Carolina Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of a developer’s unconstitutional taking claims against a county that essentially prohibited construction in floodways. The county’s restrictions were more stringent than the minimum restrictions required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). A former county planning director said the county standards were more forward-looking than federal flood maps, which he said were retrospective and did not “project the potential of increased flooding in the future from urbanization or from the possibility of more intense storms due to climate change.” The court concluded that no regulatory taking occurred based on the developer’s lack of reasonable investment-backed expectations and the legitimate and substantial health and safety-related bases for the county’s restrictions. These factors outweighed the developer’s economic injury. The court noted that at the time the developer purchased the land it knew FEMA's preliminary flood map designated almost all of the property as lying within the regulatory floodway and also knew that the county’s stormwater ordinance could be interpreted to preclude commercial development and that the ability to develop was dependent on “a host of factors” not fully explored by or under the control of the developer.