Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Fallout from Measure 37

According to Leonard Gilroy, a planner (has AICP certification!) and policy analyst with the Reason Institute, the property rights movement is swelling to a crescendo because of Oregon's Measure 37 and because of the backlash to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the Kelo case.

Gilroy points to active measures that are underway in a number of states to provide property owners with compensation any time a regulation serves to reduce property value, inspired by Measure 37.

Funny how the discussion is always how land use regulations diminish property values which should be compensated. There is never any discussion by property rights advocates about doing anything if a land use regulation increases property value, which happens all the time as property is rezoned to allow for development. See my previous blog posting on this topic.

In any case, Utah was not one of the states mentioned by Gilroy, which surprised me a bit because of our experience with SB170 this last legislative session. Don't know if that means we just aren't on the same wavelength as the property rights groups, or if they didn't think this was a credible move. In any case, if Gilroy is right and there are so many serious actions underway in other states, the spillover may affect us here in the coming year.


At 11:34 PM, Blogger SLKBlogger said...

I live in Oregon and am disgusted by Measure 37. This is a travesty and voters did not know what the measure would do for other property owners. They had a commercial that showed a poor older lady (who probably wasn’t really poor at all) and how she wanted to build a house on her property for her son. She had many many acres. What the people, the voters, never heard was what would happen when the people abuse this law, that the counties didn’t have the funds to pay compensation to these land owners, and would be forced to give in to their demands, ruing neighborhoods, and causing other problems such as, traffic, pollution, and overcrowded schools.

People watching the commercial said, “YES, She should be justly compensated, that poor old lady should get to do what she wants on her property.” Boy were we all suckered. The county is given an ultimatum by these types of property owners, give the lady her million dollars, or change the zoning so she can do what she wants. A million dollars you may ask? That’s right! Because that’s what it would be worth if she could build a house, or two, or a shopping mall on her property.

The county DOES NOT have the funds to give her the million or two she wants, so guess what. That’s right. She gets to zone for ANYTHING at her neighbors expense. Rock quarry, farm land changed to shopping malls, it’s sick.

Now that little old lady and people like her, want to build not one, but two, three, one HUNDRED homes on their 10 acre lots. Not all counties are giving into this, the problem is each county can interpret this differently, making it hard on the communities and what OREGON Stood for so many years of being a state of GREEN and no OVER development, and free of urban sprawl.

Some property owners don’t want to do this. However, now there are some ruthless developers doing some unscrupulous things. Some wealthy land developer comes with his arm around these property owners saying, “hey, if you sell your land, I can make you RICH, and ruin your neighbors lives,. But before that, you have to deed your house to me in TRUST”. Don’t worry, I’ll give you a HALF MILLION dollars as down payment.” These developers can do that because they will gain far more for doing this. The property owner is promised millions upon millions because the developers can make that much if not more. The sad part is, #1., these owners wouldn’t have even considered it if they wouldn’t have approached them.. and #2, developers can force the issue of zoning and rezoning, and even use (abuse) of eminent domain law on their neighbors– a whole other bad subject in itself.

There needs to be a law that says the property owner MUST initiate this on their own behalf and can not grant another entity, organization, or person of any kind those same zoning rights, up to 10 years after that person filed. That would be a fair start. That way developers can not get these benefits. It after all, was for the property owners in the first place.

And by the way, who ever said they should get a free ticket. Everyone else doesn’t. This is just sad. A sad day in Oregon. Sad time to be an Oregonian.

People should remember former Oregon Governors Tom McCall and Robert W. Straub and their efforts back in the 1970's, which made Oregon such a great state til this day. I hope the younger generation figure this out, so they can save their own state from this tragedy. What everyone takes for granted now, green air, breath taking scenery, breathable air, could all be gone if they don’t TAKE ACTION NOW !


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