HIGHLANDS-IN-THE-WOODS, L.L.C., a Florida Limited Liability Company, Appellant,
POLK COUNTY, Appellee.
FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
from the Circuit Court for Polk County; John Radabaugh,
S. Adams and Lauren A. Taylor of Shutts & Bowen LLP,
Tampa, for Appellant.
B. Campbell and Jennifer M. Vasquez of Valenti Campbell Trohn
Tamayo & Aranda, P.A., Lakeland, for Appellee.
Christopher B. Lunny of Radey Law Firm, Tallahassee, for
Amici Curiae National Association of Home Builders and
Florida Home Builders Association.
L.L.C. (Highlands), appeals a final summary judgment entered
in favor of Polk County on Highlands' three-count
complaint for declaratory relief and for inverse condemnation
under both the U.S. and Florida Constitutions. Polk County
conditioned Highlands' permit for development of a
subdivision on the installation of a reclaimed water use
system in the subdivision and the dedication of the system to
the County. In this appeal, Highlands argues that these
exactions constitute an unlawful taking. We disagree and
affirm the trial court's decision to grant summary
judgment in favor of Polk County.
2009 complaint, Highlands alleged that it is the owner and
developer of a sixty-lot, single-family subdivision in Polk
County. In 2003 the County conditioned Highlands' receipt
of development permits on Highlands' installation of a
system that would connect to a reclaimed water system. This
condition was authorized by section 702.G of the Polk County
Land Development Code, adopted in 2003, which provides the
For any development where water reuse systems are available,
connection to such reuse system shall be required. A
municipal, County owned, or private Water Reuse System is
considered to be available when:
1. There is sufficient capacity to serve the subject
2. An adequately sized distribution system is within one mile
of the property.
referred to the reclaimed water system it was required to
install as "reuse improvements." The County also
required Highlands to dedicate the reuse improvements to the
County, which included a parcel of land that houses the
above-ground main reuse line facility.
became aware in 2006 that several developments had been
unable to connect to a reclaimed water system due to the
construction boom during those years and the resulting
unavailability of reclaimed water. This caused Highlands to
consider installing an irrigation well for use in the common
areas of the development. Highlands decided against
installing such a well after it received assurances from the
County that there was sufficient reclaimed water capacity to
serve the subdivision. Thereupon, Highlands installed
landscaping in the common areas in an effort to complete
development of the subdivision.
in 2006, the County informed Highlands that reclaimed water
was unavailable to Highlands due to demand exceeding supply
but that the reuse lines were still required in the
subdivision. Highlands was required to reroute its irrigation
system and use potable water for irrigation of the
landscaping it had planted in the common areas. In November
2006, at a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners, the
County accepted and took possession of ...