Nollan v. California Coastal Commission


No. 86-133 Argued: March 30, 1987 --- Decided: June 26, 1987
JUSTICE SCALIA delivered the opinion of the Court.

James and Marilyn Nollan appeal from a decision of the California Court of Appeal ruling that the California Coastal Commission could condition its grant of permission to rebuild their house on their transfer to the public of an easement across their beachfront property. 177 Cal.App.3d 719, 223 Cal.Rptr. 28 (1986). The California court rejected their claim that imposition of that condition violates the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment, as incorporated against the States by the Fourteenth Amendment. Ibid. We noted probable jurisdiction. 479 U.S. 913 (1986).


The Nollans own a beachfront lot in Ventura County, California. A quarter-mile north of their property is Faria County Park, an oceanside public park with a public beach and recreation area. Another public beach area, known locally as "the Cove," lies 1,800 feet south of their lot. A concrete seawall approximately eight feet high separates the beach portion of the Nollans' property from the rest of the lot. The historic mean high tide line determines the lot's oceanside boundary.

The Nollans originally leased their property with an option to buy. The building on the lot was a small bungalow, totaling 504 square feet, which for a time they rented to summer vacationers. After years of rental use, however, the building had fallen into disrepair, and could no longer be rented out. [p828]

The Nollans' option to purchase was conditioned on their promise to demolish the bungalow and replace it. In order to do so, under Cal.Pub.Res.Code Ann. §§ 30106, 30212, and 30600 (West 1986), they were required to obtain a coastal development permit from the California Coastal Commission. On February 25, 1982, they submitted a permit application to the Commission in which they proposed to demolish the existing structure and replace it with a three-bedroom house in keeping with the rest of the neighborhood.

The Nollans were informed that their application had been placed on the administrative calendar, and that the Commission staff had recommended that the permit be granted subject to the condition that they allow the public an easement to pass across a portion of their property bounded by the mean high tide line on one side and their seawall on the other side. This would make it easier for the public to get to Faria County Park and the Cove. The Nollans protested imposition of the condition, but the Commission overruled their objections and granted the permit subject to their recordation of a deed restriction granting the easement. App. 31, 34.

On June 3, 1982, the Nollans filed a petition for writ of administrative mandamus asking the Ventura County Superior Court to invalidate the access condition. They argued that the condition could not be imposed absent evidence that their proposed development would have a direct adverse impact on public access to the beach. The court agreed, and remanded the case to the Commission for a full evidentiary hearing on that issue. Id. at 36.

On remand, the Commission held a public hearing, after which it made further factual findings and reaffirmed its imposition of the condition. It found that the new house would increase blockage of the view of the ocean, thus contributing to the development of "a ‘wall' of residential structures" that would prevent the public "psychologically . . . from realizing a stretch of coastline exists nearby that they have every right [p829] to visit." Id. at 58. The new house would also increase private use of the shorefront. Id. at 59. These effects of construction of the house, along with other area development, would cumulatively "burden the public's ability to traverse to and along the shorefront." Id. at 65-66. Therefore the Commission could properly require the Nollans to offset that burden by providing additional lateral access to the public beaches in the form of an easement across their property. The Commission also noted that it had similarly conditioned 43 out of 60 coastal development permits along the same tract of land, and that, of the 17 not so conditioned, 14 had been approved when the Commission did not have administrative regulations in place allowing imposition of the condition, and the remaining 3 had not involved shorefront property. Id. at 47-48.

The Nollans filed a supplemental petition for a writ of administrative mandamus with the Superior Court, in which they argued that imposition of the access condition violated the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment, as incorporated against the States by the Fourteenth Amendment. The Superior Court ruled in their favor on statutory grounds, finding, in part to avoid "issues of constitutionality," that the California Coastal Act of 1976, Cal.Pub.Res.Code Ann. § 30000 et seq. (West 1986), authorized the Commission to impose public access conditions on coastal development permits for the replacement of an existing single-family home with a new one only where the proposed development would have an adverse impact on public access to the sea. App. 419. In the court's view, the administrative record did not provide an adequate factual basis for concluding that replacement of the bungalow with the house would create a direct or cumulative burden on public access to the sea. Id. at 416-417. Accordingly, the Superior Court granted the writ of mandamus and directed that the permit condition be struck.

The Commission appealed to the California Court of Appeal. While that appeal was pending, the Nollans satisfied [p830] the condition on their option to purchase by tearing down the bungalow and building the new house, and bought the property. They did not notify the Commission that they were taking that action.

The Court of Appeal reversed the Superior Court. 177 Cal.App.3d 719, 223 Cal.Rptr. 28 (1986). It disagreed with the Superior Court's interpretation of the Coastal Act, finding that it required that a coastal permit for the construction of a new house whose floor area, height or bulk was more than 10% larger than that of the house it was replacing be conditioned on a grant of access. Id. at 723-724, 223 Cal.Rptr. at 31; see Cal.Pub.Res.Code Ann. § 30212. It also ruled that that requirement did not violate the Constitution under the reasoning of an earlier case of the Court of Appeal, Grupe v. California Coastal Comm'n, 166 Cal.App.3d 148, 212 Cal.Rptr. 578 (1985). In that case, the court had found that, so long as a project contributed to the need for public access, even if the project, standing alone, had not created the need for access, and even if there was only an indirect relationship between the access exacted and the need to which the project contributed, imposition of an access condition on a development permit was sufficiently related to burdens created by the project to be constitutional. 177 Cal.App.3d at 723, 223 Cal.Rptr. at 30-31; see Grupe, supra, at 165-168, 212 Cal.Rptr. at 587-590; see also Remmenga v. California Coastal Comm'n, 163 Cal.App.3d 623, 628, 209 Cal.Rptr. 628, 631, appeal dism'd, 474 U.S. 915 (1985). The Court of Appeal ruled that the record established that that was the situation with respect to the Nollans' house. 177 Cal.App.3d at 722-723, 223 Cal.Rptr. at 30-31. It ruled that the Nollans' taking claim also failed because, although the condition diminished the value of the Nollans' lot, it did not deprive them of all reasonable use of their property. Id. at 723, 223 Cal.Rptr. at 30; see Grupe, supra, at 175-176, 212 Cal.Rptr. at 595-596. Since, in the Court of Appeal's view, there was no statutory or constitutional obstacle to imposition [p831] of the access condition, the Superior Court erred in granting the writ of mandamus. The Nollans appealed to this Court, raising only the constitutional question.


Had California simply required the Nollans to make an easement across their beachfront available to the public on a permanent basis in order to increase public access to the beach, rather than conditioning their permit to rebuild their house on their agreeing to do so, we have no doubt there would have been a taking. To say that the appropriation of a public easement across a landowner's premises does not constitute the taking of a property interest, but rather (as JUSTICE BRENNAN contends) "a mere restriction on its use," post at 848-849, n. 3, is to use words in a manner that deprives them of all their ordinary meaning. Indeed, one of the principal uses of the eminent domain power is to assure that the government be able to require conveyance of just such interests, so long as it pays for them. J. Sackman, 1 Nichols on Eminent Domain § 2.1[1] (Rev. 3d ed.1985), 2 id. § 5.01[5]; see 1 id. § 1.42[9], 2 id. § 6.14. Perhaps because the point is so obvious, we have never been confronted with a controversy that required us to rule upon it, but our cases' analysis of the effect of other governmental action leads to the same conclusion. We have repeatedly held that, as to property reserved by its owner for private use, "the right to exclude [others is] ‘one of the most essential sticks in the bundle of rights that are commonly characterized as property.'" Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corp., 458 U.S. 419, 433 (1982), quoting Kaiser Aetna v. United States, 444 U.S. 164, 176 (1979). In Loretto, we observed that, where governmental action results in "[a] permanent physical occupation" of the property, by the government itself or by others, see 458 U.S. at 432-433, n. 9,

our cases uniformly have found a taking to the extent of the occupation, without regard to whether the action achieves an important public [p832] benefit or has only minimal economic impact on the owner,

id. at 434-435. We think a "permanent physical occupation" has occurred, for purposes of that rule, where individuals are given a permanent and continuous right to pass to and fro, so that the real property may continuously be traversed, even though no particular individual is permitted to station himself permanently upon the premises. [n1]

JUSTICE BRENNAN argues that, while this might ordinarily be the case, the California Constitution's prohibition on any individual's "exclu[ding] the right of way to [any navigable] water whenever it is required for any public purpose," Art. X, § 4, produces a different result here. Post at 847-848, see also post at 855, 857. There are a number of difficulties with that argument. Most obviously, the right of way sought here is not naturally described as one to navigable water (from the street to the sea), but along it; it is at least highly questionable whether the text of the California Constitution has any prima facie application to the situation before us. Even if it does, however, several California cases suggest that JUSTICE BRENNAN's interpretation of the effect of the clause is erroneous, and that, to obtain easements of access across private property, the State must proceed through its eminent domain power. See Bolsa Land Co. v. Burdick, 151 Cal.254, 260, 90 P. 532, 534-535 (1907); Oakland v. Oakland Water Front Co., 118 Cal.160, 185, 50 P. 277, 286 (1897); Heist v. County of Colusa, 163 Cal.App.3d 841, 851, 213 Cal.Rptr. 278, 285 (1984); Aptos Seascape Corp. v. Santa Cruz, 138 Cal.App.3d 484, 505-506, 188 Cal.Rptr.191, 204-205 (1982). (None of these cases specifically addressed [p833] the argument that Art. X, § 4, allowed the public to cross private property to get to navigable water, but if that provision meant what JUSTICE BRENNAN believes, it is hard to see why it was not invoked.) See also 41 Op.Cal.Atty.Gen. 39, 41 (1963) ("In spite of the sweeping provisions of [Art. X, § 4], and the injunction therein to the Legislature to give its provisions the most liberal interpretation, the few reported cases in California have adopted the general rule that one may not trespass on private land to get to navigable tidewaters for the purpose of commerce, navigation or fishing"). In light of these uncertainties, and given the fact that, as JUSTICE BLACKMUN notes, the Court of Appeal did not rest its decision on Art. X, § 4, post at 865, we should assuredly not take it upon ourselves to resolve this question of California constitutional law in the first instance. See, e.g., Jenkins v. Anderson, 447 U.S. 231, 234, n. 1 (1980). That would be doubly inappropriate since the Commission did not advance this argument in the Court of Appeal, and the Nollans argued in the Superior Court that any claim that there was a preexisting public right of access had to be asserted through a quiet title action, see Points and Authorities in Support of Motion for Writ of Administrative Mandamus, No. SP50805 (Super.Ct.Cal.), p. 20, which the Commission, possessing no claim to the easement itself, probably would not have had standing under California law to bring. See Cal.Code Civ.Proc.Ann. § 738 (West 1980). [n2] [p834]

Given, then, that requiring uncompensated conveyance of the easement outright would violate the Fourteenth Amendment, the question becomes whether requiring it to be conveyed as a condition for issuing a land use permit alters the outcome. We have long recognized that land use regulation does not effect a taking if it "substantially advance[s] legitimate state interests" and does not "den[y] an owner economically viable use of his land," Agins v. Tiburon, 447 U.S. 255, 260 (1980). See also Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City, 438 U.S. 104, 127 (1978) ("[A] use restriction may constitute a ‘taking' if not reasonably necessary to the effectuation of a substantial government purpose"). Our cases have not elaborated on the standards for determining what constitutes a "legitimate state interest" or what type of connection between the regulation and the state interest satisfies the requirement that the former "substantially advance" the latter. [n3] They have made clear, however, that a [p835] broad range of governmental purposes and regulations satisfies these requirements. See Agins v. Tiburon, supra, at 260-262 (scenic zoning); Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City, supra, (landmark preservation); Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365 (1926) (residential zoning); Laitos & Westfall, Government Interference with Private Interests in Public Resources, 11 Harv.Envtl.L.Rev. 1, 66 (1987). The Commission argues that among these permissible purposes are protecting the public's ability to see the beach, assisting the public in overcoming the "psychological barrier" to using the beach created by a developed shorefront, and preventing congestion on the public beaches. We assume, without deciding, that this is so -- in which case, the Commission unquestionably would be able to deny the Nollans their permit outright if their new house (alone, or by reason of the cumulative impact produced in conjunction with other construction) [n4] would substantially impede these purposes, [p836] unless the denial would interfere so drastically with the Nollans' use of their property as to constitute a taking. See Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City, supra.

The Commission argues that a permit condition that serves the same legitimate police power purpose as a refusal to issue the permit should not be found to be a taking if the refusal to issue the permit would not constitute a taking. We agree. Thus, if the Commission attached to the permit some condition that would have protected the public's ability to see the beach notwithstanding construction of the new house -- for example, a height limitation, a width restriction, or a ban on fences -- so long as the Commission could have exercised its police power (as we have assumed it could) to forbid construction of the house altogether, imposition of the condition would also be constitutional. Moreover (and here we come closer to the facts of the present case), the condition would be constitutional even if it consisted of the requirement that the Nollans provide a viewing spot on their property for passersby with whose sighting of the ocean their new house would interfere. Although such a requirement, constituting a permanent grant of continuous access to the property, would have to be considered a taking if it were not attached to a development permit, the Commission's assumed power to forbid construction of the house in order to protect the public's view of the beach must surely include the power to condition construction upon some concession by the owner, even a concession of property rights, that serves the same end. If a prohibition designed to accomplish that purpose would be a legitimate exercise of the police power, rather than a taking, it would be strange to conclude that providing the [p837] owner an alternative to that prohibition which accomplishes the same purpose is not.

The evident constitutional propriety disappears, however, if the condition substituted for the prohibition utterly fails to further the end advanced as the justification for the prohibition. When that essential nexus is eliminated, the situation becomes the same as if California law forbade shouting fire in a crowded theater, but granted dispensations to those willing to contribute $100 to the state treasury. While a ban on shouting fire can be a core exercise of the State's police power to protect the public safety, and can thus meet even our stringent standards for regulation of speech, adding the unrelated condition alters the purpose to one which, while it may be legitimate, is inadequate to sustain the ban. Therefore, even though, in a sense, requiring a $100 tax contribution in order to shout fire is a lesser restriction on speech than an outright ban, it would not pass constitutional muster. Similarly here, the lack of nexus between the condition and the original purpose of the building restriction converts that purpose to something other than what it was. The purpose then becomes, quite simply, the obtaining of an easement to serve some valid governmental purpose, but without payment of compensation. Whatever may be the outer limits of "legitimate state interests" in the takings and land use context, this is not one of them. In short, unless the permit condition serves the same governmental purpose as the development ban, the building restriction is not a valid regulation of land use, but "an out-and-out plan of extortion." J. E. D. Associates, Inc. v. Atkinson, 121 N. H. 581, 584, 432 A.2d 12, 14-15 (1981); see Brief for United States as Amicus Curiae 22, and n. 20. See also Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corp., 458 U.S. at 439, n. 17. [n5] [p838]


The Commission claims that it concedes as much, and that we may sustain the condition at issue here by finding that it is reasonably related to the public need or burden that the Nollans' new house creates or to which it contributes. We can accept, for purposes of discussion, the Commission's proposed test as to how close a "fit" between the condition and the burden is required, because we find that this case does not meet even the most untailored standards. The Commission's principal contention to the contrary essentially turns on a play on the word "access." The Nollans' new house, the Commission found, will interfere with "visual access" to the beach. That in turn (along with other shorefront development) will interfere with the desire of people who drive past the Nollans' house to use the beach, thus creating a "psychological barrier" to "access." The Nollans' new house will also, by a process not altogether clear from the Commission's opinion but presumably potent enough to more than offset the effects of the psychological barrier, increase the use of the public beaches, thus creating the need for more "access." These burdens on "access" would be alleviated by a requirement that the Nollans provide "lateral access" to the beach.

Rewriting the argument to eliminate the play on words makes clear that there is nothing to it. It is quite impossible to understand how a requirement that people already on the public beaches be able to walk across the Nollans' property reduces any obstacles to viewing the beach created by the new house. It is also impossible to understand how it lowers any "psychological barrier" to using the public beaches, or how it helps to remedy any additional congestion on them [p839] caused by construction of the Nollans' new house. We therefore find that the Commission's imposition of the permit condition cannot be treated as an exercise of its land use power for any of these purposes. [n6] Our conclusion on this point is consistent with the approach taken by every other court that has considered the question, with the exception of the California state courts. See Parks v. Watson, 716 F.2d 646, 651-653 (CA9 1983); Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church v. Lakewood, 626 P.2d 668, 671-674 (Colo.1981); Aunt Hack Ridge Estates, Inc. v. Planning Comm'n, 160 Conn.109, 117-120, 273 A.2d 880, 885 (1970); Longboat Key v. Lands End, Ltd., 433 So.2d 574 (Fla.App.1983); Pioneer Trust & Savings Bank v. Mount Prospect, 22 Ill.2d 375, 380, 176 N.E.2d 799, 802 (1961); Lampton v. Pinaire, 610 S.W.2d 915, 918-919 (Ky.App.1980); Schwing v. Baton Rouge, 249 So.2d 304 (La.App.), application denied, 259 La. 770, 252 So.2d 667 (1971); Howard County v. JJM, Inc., 301 Md. 256, 280-282, 482 A.2d 908, 920-921 (1984); Collis v. Bloomington, 310 Minn. 5, 246 N.W.2d 19 (1976); State ex rel. Noland v. St. Louis County, 478 S.W.2d 363 (Mo.1972); [p840] Billings Properties, Inc. v. Yellowstone County, 144 Mont. 25, 33-36, 394 P.2d 182, 187-188 (1964); Simpson v. North Platte, 206 Neb. 240, 292 N.W.2d 297 (1980); Briar West, Inc. v. Lincoln, 206 Neb. 172, 291 N.W.2d 730 (1980); J. E. D. Associates v. Atkinson, 121 N. H. 581, 432 A.2d 12 (1981); Longridge Builders, Inc. v. Planning Bd. of Princeton, 52 N.J. 348, 350-351, 245 A.2d 336, 337-338 (1968); Jenad, Inc. v. Scarsdale, 18 N.Y.2d 78, 218 N.E.2d 673 (1966); MacKall v. White, 85App.Div.2d 696, 445 N.Y.S.2d 486 (1981), appeal denied, 56 N.Y.2d 503, 435 N.E.2d 1100 (1982); Frank Ansuini, Inc. v. Cranston, 107 R.I. 63, 68-69, 71, 264 A.2d 910, 913, 914 (1970); College Station v. Turtle Rock Corp., 680 S.W.2d 802, 807 (Tex.1984); Call v. West Jordan, 614 P.2d 1257, 1258-1259 (Utah 1980); Board of Supervisors of James City County v. Rowe, 216 Va. 128, 136-139, 216 S.E.2d 199, 207-209 (1975); Jordan v. Menomonee Falls, 28 Wis.2d 608, 617-618, 137 N.W.2d 442, 447-449 (1965), appeal dism'd, 385 U.S. 4 (1966). See also Littlefield v. Afton, 785 F.2d 596, 607 (CA8 1986); Brief for National Association of Home Builders et al. as Amici Curiae 9-16.

JUSTICE BRENNAN argues that imposition of the access requirement is not irrational. In his version of the Commission's argument, the reason for the requirement is that, in its absence, a person looking toward the beach from the road will see a street of residential structures, including the Nollans' new home, and conclude that there is no public beach nearby. If, however, that person sees people passing and repassing along the dry sand behind the Nollans' home, he will realize that there is a public beach somewhere in the vicinity. Post at 849-850. The Commission's action, however, was based on the opposite factual finding that the wall of houses completely blocked the view of the beach, and that a person looking from the road would not be able to see it at all. App. 57-59.

Even if the Commission had made the finding that JUSTICE BRENNAN proposes, however, it is not certain that it would [p841] suffice. We do not share JUSTICE BRENNAN's confidence that the Commission

should have little difficulty in the future in utilizing its expertise to demonstrate a specific connection between provisions for access and burdens on access,

post at 862, that will avoid the effect of today's decision. We view the Fifth Amendment's Property Clause to be more than a pleading requirement, and compliance with it to be more than an exercise in cleverness and imagination. As indicated earlier, our cases describe the condition for abridgment of property rights through the police power as a "substantial advanc[ing]" of a legitimate state interest. We are inclined to be particularly careful about the adjective where the actual conveyance of property is made a condition to the lifting of a land use restriction, since in that context there is heightened risk that the purpose is avoidance of the compensation requirement, rather than the stated police power objective.

We are left, then, with the Commission's justification for the access requirement unrelated to land use regulation:

Finally, the Commission notes that there are several existing provisions of pass and repass lateral access benefits already given by past Faria Beach Tract applicants as a result of prior coastal permit decisions. The access required as a condition of this permit is part of a comprehensive program to provide continuous public access along Faria Beach as the lots undergo development or redevelopment.

App. 68. That is simply an expression of the Commission's belief that the public interest will be served by a continuous strip of publicly accessible beach along the coast. The Commission may well be right that it is a good idea, but that does not establish that the Nollans (and other coastal residents) alone can be compelled to contribute to its realization. Rather, California is free to advance its "comprehensive program," if it wishes, by using its power of eminent domain for this "public purpose," [p842] see U.S.Const., Amdt. 5; but if it wants an easement across the Nollans' property, it must pay for it.


1. The holding of PruneYard Shopping Center v. Robins, 447 U.S. 74 (1980), is not inconsistent with this analysis, since there the owner had already opened his property to the general public, and in addition permanent access was not required. The analysis of Kaiser Aetna v. United States, 444 U.S. 164 (1979), is not inconsistent, because it was affected by traditional doctrines regarding navigational servitudes. Of course neither of those cases involved, as this one does, a classic right-of-way easement.

2. JUSTICE BRENNAN also suggests that the Commission's public announcement of its intention to condition the rebuilding of houses on the transfer of easements of access caused the Nollans to have "no reasonable claim to any expectation of being able to exclude members of the public" from walking across their beach. Post at 857-860. He cites our opinion in Ruckelshaus v. Monsanto Co., 467 U.S. 986 (1984), as support for the peculiar proposition that a unilateral claim of entitlement by the government can alter property rights. In Monsanto, however, we found merely that the Takings Clause was not violated by giving effect to the Government's announcement that application for "the right to [the] valuable Government benefit," id. at 1007 (emphasis added), of obtaining registration of an insecticide would confer upon the Government a license to use and disclose the trade secrets contained in the application. Id. at 1007-1008. See also Bowen v. Gilliard, ante at 605. But the right to build on one's own property -- even though its exercise can be subjected to legitimate permitting requirements -- cannot remotely be described as a "governmental benefit." And thus the announcement that the application for (or granting of) the permit will entail the yielding of a property interest cannot be regarded as establishing the voluntary "exchange," 467 U.S. at 1007, that we found to have occurred in Monsanto. Nor are the Nollans' rights altered because they acquired the land well after the Commission had begun to implement its policy. So long as the Commission could not have deprived the prior owners of the easement without compensating them, the prior owners must be understood to have transferred their full property rights in conveying the lot.

3. Contrary to JUSTICE BRENNAN's claim, post at 843, our opinions do not establish that these standards are the same as those applied to due process or equal protection claims. To the contrary, our verbal formulations in the takings field have generally been quite different. We have required that the regulation "substantially advance" the "legitimate state interest" sought to be achieved, Agins v. Tiburon, 447 U.S. 255, 260 (1980), not that "the State ‘could rationally have decided' that the measure adopted might achieve the State's objective." Post at 843, quoting Minnesota v. Clover Leaf Creamery Co., 449 U.S. 456, 466 (1981). JUSTICE BRENNAN relies principally on an equal protection case, Minnesota v. Clover Leaf Creamery Co., supra, and two substantive due process cases, Williamson v. Lee Optical of Oklahoma, Inc., 348 U.S. 483, 487-488 (1955), and DayBrite Lighting, Inc. v. Missouri, 342 U.S. 421, 423 (1952), in support of the standards he would adopt. But there is no reason to believe (and the language of our cases gives some reason to disbelieve) that, so long as the regulation of property is at issue, the standards for takings challenges, due process challenges, and equal protection challenges are identical, any more than there is any reason to believe that, so long as the regulation of speech is at issue, the standards for due process challenges, equal protection challenges, and First Amendment challenges are identical. Goldblatt v. Hempstead, 369 U.S. 590 (1962), does appear to assume that the inquiries are the same, but that assumption is inconsistent with the formulations of our later cases.

4. If the Nollans were being singled out to bear the burden of California's attempt to remedy these problems, although they had not contributed to it more than other coastal landowners, the State's action, even if otherwise valid, might violate either the incorporated Takings Clause or the Equal Protection Clause. One of the principal purposes of the Takings Clause is

to bar Government from forcing some people alone to bear public burdens which, in all fairness and justice, should be borne by the public as a whole.

Armstrong v. United States, 364 U.S. 40, 49 (1960); see also San Diego Gas & Electric Co. v. San Diego, 450 U.S. 621, 656 (1981) (BRENNAN, J. dissenting); Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City, 438 U.S. 104, 123 (1978). But that is not the basis of the Nollans' challenge here.

5. One would expect that a regime in which this kind of leveraging of the police power is allowed would produce stringent land use regulation which the State then waives to accomplish other purposes, leading to lesser realization of the land use goals purportedly sought to be served than would result from more lenient (but nontradeable) development restrictions. Thus, the importance of the purpose underlying the prohibition not only does not justify the imposition of unrelated conditions for eliminating the prohibition, but positively militates against the practice.

6. As JUSTICE BRENNAN notes, the Commission also argued that the construction of the new house would "‘increase private use immediately adjacent to public tidelands,'" which in turn might result in more disputes between the Nollans and the public as to the location of the boundary. Post 851, quoting App. 62. That risk of boundary disputes, however, is inherent in the right to exclude others from one's property, and the construction here can no more justify mandatory dedication of a sort of "buffer zone" in order to avoid boundary disputes than can the construction of an addition to a single-family house near a public street. Moreover, a buffer zone has a boundary as well, and unless that zone is a "no-man's land" that is off-limits for both neighbors (which is, of course, not the case here) its creation achieves nothing except to shift the location of the boundary dispute further on to the private owner's land. It is true that, in the distinctive situation of the Nollans' property, the seawall could be established as a clear demarcation of the public easement. But since not all of the lands to which this land use condition applies have such a convenient reference point, the avoidance of boundary disputes is, even more obviously than the others, a made-up purpose of the regulation.