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Water-Related News

U.S. Supreme Court to hear landowner's 'weird' challenge of wetlands mitigation

By Bruce Ritchie

When Coy A. Koontz Sr. sought to build on 3 acres of wetlands on his property in Orange County, he was told by the St. Johns River Water Management District that he could if he paid for work restoring wetlands on agency property seven miles away.

Koontz refused.

That was 19 years ago, and next week the family of the late landowner will get its day in court -- the U.S. Supreme Court.

Some legal experts are surprised the high court is taking up the property rights case that it's scheduled to hear arguments upon Tuesday. Groups including the Association of Florida Community Developers, Florida Farm Bureau, the National Governors Association and the American Planning Association have filed briefs in the case.