Williamson County Regional Planning Commission V. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City - Facts of The Case

Facts of The Case

In 1973, the Williamson County (Tennessee) Regional Planning Commission approved a preliminary plat for a 676-acre (2.74 km2) residential subdivision, including a golf course, open space, and 736 residential units. Four years later, after the developer had incurred substantial costs installing infrastructure and had received final approval for the construction of the first 212 units, the county changed its zoning ordinance and adopted more stringent density limits.

Upon submission of a revised preliminary plat in 1980, the Commission raised eight objections to the development based on non-compliance with the county's then-existing zoning and development regulations. Following an administrative appeal, the County Board of Zoning Appeals ruled that the Commission should have applied the regulations and zoning that were effect in 1973, when the original preliminary plat was filed. However, the Commission declined to follow this directive, and once again disapproved the revised plat.

Hamilton Bank, which had acquired the undeveloped property through foreclosure, filed suit in federal court, alleging that the Commission's actions amounted to a regulatory taking of its property without just compensation. Alternatively, Hamilton argued that the Agency's actions violated the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment and should be set aside.

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