Judicial Takings: Musings on Stop the Beach

James E. Krier

Judicial takings weren't much talked about until a few years ago, when the Stop the Beach case made them suddenly salient.1 The case arose from a Florida statute, enacted in 1961, that authorizes public restoration of eroded beaches by adding sand to widen them seaward. Under the statute, the state has title to any new dry land resulting from restored beaches, meaning that waterfront owners whose land had previously extended to the mean high-tide line end up with public beaches between their land and the water. This, the owners claimed, resulted in a taking of their property, more particularly their rights under Florida common law to receive accretions to their frontage on the water, and to have their property remain in contact with the water.

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