Jury: Falmouth Prevented Home Building, Must Pay Nearly $1M

FALMOUTH (AP) — Falmouth has been ordered to pay a Florida woman nearly $1 million after jurors determined her coastal property lost more than 90 percent of its value because of wetlands protection laws and the town’s refusal to grant her a variance.

Jurors last week concluded laws created in 2008 that established “no disturbance” zones near salt marshes and coastal banks prevented Janice Smyth from building a home on her Falmouth property.

Smyth’s parents bought the property in 1975. It’s classified as buildable and is valued at $700,000. It would be valued at $60,000 if it weren’t buildable.

Jurors concluded the town’s actions constituted a regulatory taking of the property.

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