State anti-nuisance laws, known as right-to-farm laws, burden neighboring property owners with nuisances. The purpose of the laws is to protect existing investments by offering an affirmative defense. Activities that are not a nuisance when commenced cannot become a nuisance due to changes in land uses by neighbors. While most state laws involve a lawful exercise of the state’s police powers, a right-to-farm law may set forth protection against nuisances that is so great that it operates to effect a regulatory taking. Judicial rulings that two Iowa right-to-farm laws went too far in reducing neighbors’ constitutionally protected rights augur an opportunity to rethink right-to-farm laws. Rather than relying upon a marketplace economy to protect businesses, a law based upon an economy of nature may be drafted to protect farmland and other natural resources.
Terence J. Centner,
Governments and Unconstitutional Takings: When do Right-to-Farm Laws Go Too Far?,
B.C. Envtl. Aff. L. Rev.