Tucson--A Pima County Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of Goldwater Institute client Mike Goodman, who filed suit against the City of Tucson under Arizona's Proposition 207, the Private Property Rights Protection Act passed by Arizona voters in 2006, which requires government to compensate property owners if they pass laws or regulations that diminish property values.
The verdict clears the legal path for Goodman to be awarded the first court-mandated damages under Prop 207.
"Arizona voters overwhelmingly embraced greater protection of private property rights," said Clint Bolick, director of the Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation, "and this ruling vindicates that intent."
Mr. Goodman, a Tucson builder, buys run-down properties in the downtown area and near the University of Arizona, and replaces them with new housing that meets or exceeds zoning requirements and building standards. But in 2007 the City of Tucson enacted an anti-demolition ordinance that subjected property owners to a labyrinth of rules that limited property use and instantly reduced property values for thousands of homeowners and small business owners. This ordinance applied to Mr. Goodman after he had received building permits and begun the building process.
The presiding judge, Hon. Paul Tang, wrote in his decision, "The Court believes that the public's interest in laws requiring compensation for partial regulatory takings is significant and arguably compelling." He also wrote, "To adopt the City's view . . . would render [Prop 207's intent] superfluous and obsolete."
The next step in Goodman v. City of Tucson is to determine the amount of damages the City must pay. "[F]or every actionable injury there is a corresponding right to damages," Judge Tang added. Prop 207 is "part of a greater effort and movement in favor of individual rights."