Elaine Spencer


Section I briefly discusses the basic principles of takings law as enunciated by prior cases, as well as the United States Supreme Court's recent decision in Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, and the Washington Supreme Court's recent decisions in Sintra, Inc. v. Seattle and Robinson v. Seattle. Although the Lucas decision has received considerable publicity, it advanced the state of the law rather little. The real guidance for future decisions arising out of the GMA will come from earlier United States Supreme Court decisions and the Washington Supreme Court's decisions in Sintra, Robinson, and Lutheran Day Care v. Snohomish County. Section II introduces several hypothetical situations based on actual property owners with whom the Author is familiar. It examines how those hypothetical situations would be treated under an application of the law as it exists today. The Article concludes that although many truly injured parties will themselves be exhausted by the duty to exhaust administrative remedies, the law will protect the reasonable investment-backed expectations of those landowners who survive the administrative hurdles. It further concludes that public interest would be better served by a greater recognition of property rights at the stage of ordinance development and permitting, as well as by legislation, to both reduce the burden of exhausting adminstrative remedies and the potential size of damage awards where a taking or a violation of substantive due process rights has occurred.