Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


There is an increasingly powerful and vocal group coalescing in society today, sometimes described as anti-environmentalists or Property Firsters, who feel that the government has exceeded its authority in interfering with individual rights for the purpose of protecting natural resources. Regardless of any personal convictions regarding this often emotionally-charged issue, people involved in coastal management and planning should be aware of the changes in legal doctrines which have come about as a result of "property first" challenges to regulatory or zoning statutes. These challenges have been pursued successfully in the courts by characterizing state and local land use ordinances as a "taking" of private property under the Fifth Amendment, so it is vital for coastal managers to have the clearest possible understanding of the basis of the challenges: the takings doctrine. Instead of focusing solely on the often subtle and convoluted legal points of the takings decisions, this paper will provide an analysis of the issue as it affects coastal management regulatory and zoning efforts.