Last month, the US Supreme Court granted a Petition for Writ of Certiorari for Murr v. State of Wisconsin (Docket Number 15-214). The question before the court is whether the “parcel as a whole” concept described in Penn Central Transportation Company v City of New York, requires that two legally distinct but commonly owned contiguous parcels must be combined for the purpose of a takings analysis.
In regulatory takings cases, the scope of property to be considered will often determine if a regulatory imposition constitutes a taking. Generally speaking, the larger the property to be considered, the less severe the regulatory impact on the entire parcel-as-a-whole. Conversely, the regulatory impact on a small parcel will be more concentrated and thus is more likely to be adverse. As the economic impact of a regulation is usually key important factor in determining whether a taking has occurred – with a regulation that entirely eliminates the value of the relevant parcel a per se taking – a decision by the Supreme Court to narrow or expand the definition the relevant parcel could be one of the most significant takings cases in decades. This is definitely a case to keep an eye on going forward.
To familiarize yourself with the facts of the case more closely, the lower court’s decision was Murr v. Wisconsin, 359 Wisc. 2d 675 (Wis. App. 2014), rev. denied, 862 N.W.2d 899 (Wis. 2015).