The U.S. Supreme Court will decide a case in which Lake Tahoe property owners allege that a temporary building moratorium amounted to an unconstitutional taking. The Supreme Court likely will hear oral arguments this fall in Tahoe Sierra Preservation Council, Inc. v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 00-1167. The court agreed to consider only one question from the multi-faceted case: "Whether the Court of Appeals properly determined that a temporary moratorium on land development does not constitute a taking of property requiring compensation under the Takings Clause of the United States Constitution?" The Tahoe Sierra Preservation Council has been in litigation against TRPA, a bi-state agency that oversees development in the Tahoe Basin, since the 1980s. But the Preservation Council, which represents about 450 property owners, has lost four separate rounds at the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Last year, the Ninth Circuit ruled, among other things, that a 32-month building moratorium which TRPA imposed while adopting a regional plan was not a taking. The Ninth Circuit panel called a temporary moratorium a "crucial planning mechanism." Landowners had argued the moratorium was a taking because it denied "all economically beneficial or productive use of land" while it was in effect. The landowners asked for a rehearing before the whole Ninth Circuit. Five judges voted to hear the case, which was not enough for reconsideration. That caused conservative Judge Alex Kozinski to pen a sharp dissent in which he said the three-judge panel that ruled in the case had overturned the First English precedent that established the concept of "temporary takings." First English Evangelical Lutheran Church v. County of Los Angeles, 482 U.S. 304 (1987). The Ninth Circuit's ruling was a major victory not only for TRPA, but for a large number of government entities that submitted amicus briefs in the case. A contrary ruling would make government agencies liable for imposing a building moratorium, which would harm good planning, the agencies argued.