Utah's Private Property Protection Act
The Private Property Protection Act is a provision in the Utah Code, which requires state agencies to establish guidelines to review whether proposed actions impact the use and ownership of private property.
The Act is intended to raise awareness of property takings matters, and to help ensure that state actions affecting property use are justified and have minimal impact on property rights.
See also The Constitutional Takings Issues Act, which applies similar requirements to local governments.
The Act is found in Chapter 3 of Title 63L of the Utah Code.
The Act covers all agencies of the Executive Department of the State of Utah that are authorized to adopt administrative rules. It does not apply to the Legislature or the Judicial Branch, nor does it apply to local government units. It also does not apply to any agency of the Federal Government.
A “Constitutional Taking” refers to actions that may limit the use of private property or require an exaction of property, such that compensation may be required by the Federal or State Constitution.
All state administrative agencies should adopt guidelines to assist in identifying actions that have takings implications. The guidelines should be reviewed annually to ensure that they reflect current laws.
State agencies should use the guidelines to assess proposed rules and other actions, and determine if the action may impact private property to the extent that compensation is owed under the State or Federal Constitutions.
“Government Actions” include most proposed administrative rules, conditions or requirements for permits or licences, and exactions required from property owners.
Actions that are not covered include formal use of eminent domain, property seizures by law enforcement, judicial orders, and administrative enforcement actions.
In addition to the takings guidelines, state agencies should follow these criteria when implementing or enforcing actions with potential takings implications:
- Any conditions imposed on a permit or license for a specific use of property must relate to the purpose for which the permit is issued and shall substantially advance that purpose.
- Any restriction on the use of private property shall be proportionate to the extent the use contributes to the overall problem that the restriction addresses.
- If property use is prohibited during a decision-making process, the duration of the process shall be kept to a minimum.
- If property use is restricted to protect the public health, the agency must specify the health risk, show that the restriction protects against the specific risks, and show that the restrictions are proportionate to the contribution to the risks attributed to the use. In addition, the agency must estimate the potential compensation that could be awarded.