Colman v. Utah State Land Board

Utah Supreme Court
795 P.2d 622 (Utah 1990)

The purpose of a Constitution is to provide an orderly foundation for government and to keep government authority within its bounds. The State’s legislative power must be exercised within the framework of the State Constitution.

Article I, § 22 of the Utah Constitution (the Takings Clause) is “self executing,” meaning it does not require any additional legislative enactment. That section is binding on the State and all political subdivisions of the State.

The State (or its political subdivisions) may regulate and restrain the use of private property when the health, safety, morals, or welfare of the public requires. Only when government regulation rises to the level of a taking or damage is compensation required.

A taking is any substantial interference with private property which destroys or materially lessens its value, or by which the owner’s right to its use and enjoyment is in any substantial degree abridged or destroyed.

“Damage” is limited to injuries which would be actionable at common law, or where there has been some physical disturbance of a right which the owner enjoys with the property, and which gives it additional value; and the disturbance or injury causes the owner to sustain special damage in excess of that sustained by the public generally.

A claimant for compensation must possess some protectible interest in property that is then taken or damaged by government action.

Full Text of Colman v. Utah State Land Board