The Parcel as a Whole: Defining the Relevant Parcel in Temporary Regulatory Takings Cases

2014 Washington Law Review

Abstract: In regulatory takings cases, courts must look at the “parcel as a whole” rather than individual property interests to determine whether a taking has occurred. The Supreme Court, however, has not clarified how exactly the relevant parcel should be defined. The Federal Circuit’s recent decision in CCA Associates v. United States highlights the confusion surrounding the parcel as a whole. It also highlights the continuing need to clarify how the relevant parcel should be defined in temporary regulatory takings cases. This Comment analyzes the parcel as a whole in temporary regulatory takings cases, specifically those involving lost income. It argues that the relevant parcel should not be measured by the property’s entire lifetime value, as the Federal Circuit decided in Cienega Gardens v. United States (Cienega X) and ultimately reaffirmed in CCA Associates. Neither Supreme Court jurisprudence nor standard economics supports this interpretation of the parcel as a whole. Instead, this Comment argues that the relevant parcel should be determined by the owner’s investment in the property in consideration with principles of fairness and justice. This approach harmonizes Supreme Court jurisprudence and standard economics. It also achieves uniformity and equitability in temporary regulatory takings cases involving lost income.

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