"property rights initiative"

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Will Atlas, Feb 24, 2006.

  1. gt Active Member

    Posts: 2,616
    sequim, WA
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    well i guess i don't understand! if there is a current provision for me to purchase land, petition for development under an older regulation within 6mo, then what is the purpose of this new idea??????

    as i understand it, there was no grandfather ability in oregon. and it is true, since there is no money at any level of government to compensate, the net effect is to throw out land use planning. and that is in fact what is currently happening in oregon.

    this is all about developers getting their hands on property which they can profit from, grandma and grandpa have NOTHING to do with this. check out the articles in the oregonian, it's online for the reading.

    folks i know in k falls are shaking their heads over this. that county was almost 100% in favor. now, the neighbors are showing up to contest, which they can't, the sale and development of major tracts of adjacent farm land. the real estate market is booming in southern oregon with thousands of folks profiting in CA and coming north. getting 37 passed was a major coo for the real estate and home building market and their well oiled lobbists.

    my no vote is guaranteed if it comes to that.
  2. Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

    Posts: 2,268
    bellingham wa
    Ratings: +520 / 0
    The 13th and 14th amendments were ratified to end slavery. They were not ratified for property rights. Slaves didn't own anyng. I understand this is an initiative, however, anyone using the 13th or 14th amendments to try and convince you is not using the intent of the law.
    Zinn writes about this at length, the misuse of those amendments by monied interests, In "A Peoples History" and I believe the Zinn reader.
    I am presently trying to rezone my property so as to sell a portion of it. I understand the potential frustration, but it is nessesary for local governments to have the right to create and enforce zoning regulations. Democracy dependant upon ownership is really an aristocracy.
    Theo Epstein for Pesident,
  3. Cactus Dana Miller

    Posts: 667
    Tacoma, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    That's the way (the 6 months) that it works in Washington. It may or not have been the same in Oregon; that land use law was passed 20+ years ago. From what I have gathered this "new" idea is that people (call them "new owners") who bought land (say a 100 acre farm) AFTER the land use law was passed; they had NO chance to develop under the old regulations. The new owners were suing because they wanted to develop their land like pre-land use regulation owners are able. I believe that they (new owners) claimed that they were being treated unequally under the law compared to the old owners. If this is the case, it may be a matter of equity under the Oregon Constitution.

    It would be helpfull if you posted the links since you seem to be keeping up with it.

    We seem to be able to raise taxes to build parks and schools? We are even able to raise taxes so that billionaire sports team owners are able to keep their multi-millionaire players in the best of facilities. Maybe the politicians could actually lead and convince people of the need to preserve these rural areas and let the "feel good" stuff like sculpture gardens and fancy tunnels stay on the drawing boards!

    You talk about the "booming" real estate market in So. Oregon and relate it to this decision. This court opinion was just released a couple of weeks ago, it's much too soon to see land developed and houses being built as a result of this decision. The average development takes 2 - 5 years from time of submittal of intent to develop to putting up the first house! The real estate market in Oregon, like Puget Sound, has been "booming" for some time now. You may be connecting a totally unrelated event to this decision!

    The final outcome isn't even really known as the State of Oregon can choose to appeal to the US Supreme Court.
  4. fatwhitedog New Member

    Posts: 120
    a place on the OlyPen, Wa.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
  5. Ned Wright New Member

    Posts: 283
    Tenino, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Fatwhitedog - I am a little confused about the link you sent. I am well aware of the problems with this case in New London, Conn, but this is far from the debate at hand. There is a big difference between land use and eminent domain.

    Cactus - You were saying that the Oregon decision is only days old. The ruling from the Oregon Superior Court is only days old, but before this thing got tied up in court and the state halted new applications to apply for measure 37 consideration, counties were flooded with applications that they were processing. I believe (not too sure) that some were approved before they stopped applications to wait for the courts decision. I would assume that those with an approved application have gone forward with the development.

    This is just my impression, long ways from fact. I agree that some links to the Oregonian articles would probably help the debate.

  6. gt Active Member

    Posts: 2,616
    sequim, WA
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    try this link to the oregonian newspaper:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/search/in...unt=20&xref=7&xpath.any=measure property land

    this should provide a bit of background for whats about to happen in WA.

    next time you take a road trip fishing in oregon, look at housing prices. we all like to believe that 'we' live in the most expensive, overpriced place in the universe. butt, check out the bend area: modest starter home 2bath, 3 bedroom, attached garage, in a development, 500k; fixer-er-upper in ashland in what i would call a 'mixed' neighborhood, 1.5 baths, 2 bedroom, carport on tiny lot, 475k.

    these prices are moving upward as the population ages and the 60+ crowd sells off their monster expensive CA homes and heads for new territory. that is what is driving these property initiatives, not the poor farmer wanting to subdivide. this is all about big bucks and subdivisions.

    drive on down to redmond, or and continue to bend and then over to sisters. look kind of like a miniature LA????? now if thats what folks in WA are really after, supporting a 'property rights initiative' sponsored by the farm bureau is what you need to vote for.
  7. Sisu Banned or Parked

    Posts: 92
    some where cool,usa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Very interesting posts, but here it is in a nutshell. The sportsman (woman) always gets screwed. Rivers, lakes, wilderness, birds, animals, etc. don't put money in people's pockets so the lobbyist has a very easy job. I don’t want to sound like a negative person here but I’ve only seen one political grease job fail and that was a coal gas project in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley of Alaska. Some how a fella there was able to organize the borough’s voters for a recall of the politician and stop the coal gas project. Otherwise all I’ve ever seen lobbyists do was grease the pockets of the people in Olympia and it's all history. BTW I hate politicians, most real estate sales people, used car dealers, and people of the cloth since they are all after one thing: what ever you have they want it.
  8. riverrun Member

    Posts: 58
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    As you can tell, I am not one to make many postings on this board. But, as one who is currently being affected by "property rights" issues in Skagit County, I can't help myself. In March I purchased 160 acres zoned to allow residential development with 1 home per 20 Acres. We are adjacent to industrial forest and 1 mile from a county road, although our road meets all county codes for ingress, fire protection, etc. It is located within Fire District 10 within 1 mile of the banks of the Sauk River.

    My wife and I bought it with a retirement dream which is 5-10 years off. We did all of our due diligence regarding building a house(s), barn(s), etc, with a desire to build for our retirement a house, etc. where my wife can ride, and I can swing flies for steelhead. ;) All of this is possible under the current zoning.

    November, the Forest Advisory Board as part of the Growth Management Act update recommends that all parcels 40 acres or greater adjacent to land which the primary zoning is Industrial Forest should be reclassified as Industrial Forest. Under this new zoning, that is 1 house per 20 acres, but ONLY if you are within 200 feet of a road. Since my property is not within 200 feet of a county road, I lose all of my building rights. Seems the Forest Advisory Board is concerned about the loss of "resources" as Skagit COunty devlops and feels they must protect their access to forest and complains that non-industrial landowners file nuisance suits against them when they don't clean up their slash in compliance with laws, complain about errant herbicidal treatments, etc.

    If this is not a taking, then what is? Sure I will retain my title, but what value will it be when I must sell it to Sierra Pacific (successor of Crown Pacific) when my wife and I are no longer interested in camping away our retirement. Meanwhile, the timber companies complain to the Planning Commision about the "taking of their land without just compensation" as a result of increasing riparian buffers. Hypocrites?

    I am not sure the property rights initiative is the right answer, but something must be done to protect small property owners from loss of their value. I am curious about your opinions.
  9. gt Active Member

    Posts: 2,616
    sequim, WA
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    riverrun, from the post by cactus, it would appear you have 6 months to appeal this ruling. true???
  10. Ned Wright New Member

    Posts: 283
    Tenino, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0

    This is a very unfortunate situation. I feel for you. I am quickly drawn to your last sentence. What is the answer to this problem? I agree that the answer isn't the property rights initiative. Have you gone to the Forestry Advisery Board? I know that it is far from an answer, but if you went and made public comment, often the board would seriously consider your concerns. Possibly there is some sort of appeal.

    The point I am getting at is that these kinds of issues have come up before and reasonable people/elected officials have come to consensus before. I am very weary about changing laws to rectify the execption to the rule. Have you looked into your rights to grandfather in old zoning.

    I am really asking these questions to learn about the reality of our political climate, not to win an arguement. I would like to see an expanded discussion of the implecations of this vote.

    Thanks for your input,
    An aspiring young bureaucrat,
  11. riverrun Member

    Posts: 58
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    From what I know, there is no such thing as a 6 month window in Washington state or Skagit County. On the contrary, unless I successfully file a "complete application" for a building permit before the new zoning recommendations take effect, I lose my rights, forever. Filing of a complete application may not be possible before the new zoning goes into effect.

    What is most discouraging about this timing is that the Forest Advisory Board began their "recommendation" process in July and began contemplating specific proposals to my land at the same time. Their final proposal to the Planning Commission was made in November. My first notice of their final proposal (the effect of which is to prohibit buiding on my land) came from a Planning Commission member, acting as a concerned, similarly situated citizen two weeks ago. Unfortunately, much of the critical time for me to complete the building application process transpired during this period. My first official notice of the action against my property came on this last Saturday. The public comment period on the Forest Advisory Board recommendations expires on April 18 and the Planning Commission could implement new zoning regulations within 30-60 days thereafter.

    Whether we have enough time to jump through all the permit hoops, complete our Critical Areas Assesments, get septic design, house plans, well, etc. in the remaining time remains to be seen. Even if we are able to get the application filed on time and save one site for our retirement, the process will result in us losing 7 other rights we purchased under the laws existing when we bought the property. Not to mention that we are being forced to take action before our planned time frame to defend against this taking. And for who's benefit?
  12. riverrun Member

    Posts: 58
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    Sorry, in rereading my first posting, I made a typo. Industrial Forest zoning allows only 1 home on 80 acres, not 20 as my errant typing indicated.
  13. Cactus Dana Miller

    Posts: 667
    Tacoma, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0

    It would be in your best interest to consult with a land use attorney familier with the laws in Skagit County ASAP! You may still have time to segregate your property into 40 seperate 20 acre parcels under the current regulations. In most cases, as long as you start the process to sub-devide your property prior to the effective date of the new regulations you will be OK. I don't know how Skagit County works but that is how it works in Pierce County.

    You WILL most likely have to follow through and proceed with the subdivision in the near future - possible sooner than you would like. That wouldn't mean you necessarily have to sell them at this time (other than one or two to recoup some of your development costs), but you would at least have the option in the future. My legal education is pretty much limited to watching re-runs of Judge Judy while at the gym:clown: , so please find a good attorney.

    Just as the property rights advocates like to run out stories about grandma losing the ranch, restrictive zoning advocates like to run out the ideas that only millionaire developers will be effected. Unfortunately these sweeping land use laws regularly do effect people like riverrun and his wife as you can see. Any attempt to exempt people like riverrun while applying only to the "big guys" would most likely be challenged as unequal treatment under the law.

    Thats not to argue that zoning shouldn't be done; good zoning regulations can protect the value of our property (and environment) when done right. But the laws have to be very carefully constructed.
  14. riverrun Member

    Posts: 58
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    Ned and Jane:

    The Forest Advisory Board has made their recommendations already to the Planning Commission. I have tried to access them, but it is too late. If they had notified me during their deliberation process, I think I might have had a chance to avoid their recommendation on my property, even if the FAB consists of all Industrial Forestry reps with the exception of one. (That one non industrial forest rep has no effective role in many matters since they vote by a simple majority). Now I am left in the unfortunate position of undoing their recommendations to the Planning Commission. Of course, I will ask them to overrule the FAB's recs, but I am told by people in the know that success is unlikely. As explained in my other post, grandfathering ("vesting") only occurs upon filing of a completed building permit application. This is really quite an onerous task to accomplish even on one lot in a matter of months. No matter what, I will be unable to capture the full value of the asset I bought in reliance on the County's existing zoning regulations. As Cactus points out, once filed, vesting under the now existing zoning lasts only 5 years, forcing me to take action outside of my planned time frame. I am being forced to take the course of filing for a permit but am also consulting with an attorney on opposing the changes.

    And what purpose does rushing a landowner into developing land to preserve his existing rights and value serve? I think it is counterproductive and potentially harmful to the extent it encourages the same practice with developers.

    At the moment, this whole process is cutting deeply into my fishing time, which is really the most severe kind of taking without just compensation is it not?
  15. Ned Wright New Member

    Posts: 283
    Tenino, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: Thats a good one!

    There is one silver lining. If you get your permits in and the zoning laws stick you will truly have a property out in the sticks forever. I don't know how many times I have read about about the guy who builds in the sticks only to have the burbs catch up within a few years. Sure he can sell and build further out, but if you have a nice place, who wants to.

    I am a long ways from retirement and from the writting I see on the wall the only thing left for me and my generation will be high rise condos in the middle of the megaopolis between Portland and Vancouver BC.:beathead:

    Who knows if there will be any anadromous fish left:(

  16. gt Active Member

    Posts: 2,616
    sequim, WA
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    sounds to me as if you need a very sharp legal mind involved right about now. since this review was already underway before you purchased this acerage with the intent to subdivide, i would want to inquire as to just what motivation the seller might have had. i would assume that none of this was disclosed before you closed. i would also want to know exactly what the title company knew about the time your paper work was making its way through the maze.

    lots of luck. at the end of the day, you may just have a beautiful chunk of ground all to yourself, not too bad an outcome.

    at the same time, i have to be honest and point out that folks like you that have been dumped on are in the minority. just as the little old lady in oregon became the poster person, she is not the one raking in the cash. the intent of the initative sponsered by the farm bureau is not in your name or for your protection. it all comes down to chopping apart tens of thousands of acres of farm land in order to promote urban sprawl and the earning of big bucks by a very limited few people/corporations.
  17. o mykiss Active Member

    Posts: 1,297
    Ratings: +168 / 0
    For those interested, here's the text of I-933 as filed by the Washington Farm Bureau. http://www.propertyfairness.com/text/i933.pdf

    Draw your own conclusions. Mine are that if this gets on the ballot and is approved by the voters, you can kiss goodbye any new land use regulations that don't demonstrably increase the value of land (i.e., I assume no one will have any right to complain if the local government rezones their property for a more commercially valuable use). And there's no doubt in my mind that is what the proponents are really after, but I may be too cynical on that point.

    FT, I don't want to split hairs with you regarding your hypothetical in response to my first post, but I do not think that is necessarily a "taking" under current constitutional jurisprudence. It probably feels like your property has been "taken" without "just compensation" in that hypothetical, but I don't think the courts have construed the federal or state takings clauses that liberally. I'm not trying to defend how the courts have construed the takings clauses, just suggesting it isn't as "obvious" as you suggest.

    Riverrun, I am sorry to hear about your ordeal. You would certainly be a sympathetic "poster boy" for the I-933 initiative. I hope there is a solution to your specific problem that works out. I would like to believe that there is a broader solution that could address situations like yours that aren't as drastic as I-933. If you don't like the advice you are getting from your attorney and want a second opinion, PM me; I know a few lawyers and could probably track down a referral to a hot shot land use lawyer.
  18. James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

    Posts: 2,784
    Ratings: +87 / 0

    I don't think that you are going to like my answer to all of this, and you do sincerely have my sympathies. I truely am not trying to be a dick, but to provide some talk as the devils advocate.

    1) When the purchase went through, there was no guarantee to getting any kind of monetary return for the property. It's *always* a gamble to invest in any way shape or form, and in this case it sounds like things aren't going your way :(

    2) As a purchaser of that amount of land it is totally your responsiblity to keep up with legislation that can and will affect you. It's tedious, time consuming and hard, but it's the way things go. From personal experience I've had to deal with similar things on a smaller scale in the city of Tacoma.

    3) Realize that the land still have value even though zoning doesn't allow you to improve on it. It may be less in the short term, but in the long term who knows? Greenspace is becoming less and less common, and at the rate we are cutting things down, privately owned greenspaces will probably soar in prices, as the rich folks want to own a piece of "the country"

    4) Benefit is difficult to define here, but basically the zoning changed as part of the political will of voters in the county. Is that fair? Maybe not, but it is the will of the people so to speak. The general consensus was that greenspace was being consumed at a rate that was detremental to the health of the county, and the lifestyle that it affords. If you really want to change things, you'll have to become politically active.

    Personally I think you getting trampled stinks. IMO, it's all due to a knee jerk reaction fighting what was a scale balanced too far in favor of sprawl. But I've seen a lot of cases in Thurston county were greedy people sway local governments to change zoning for short term benefits. If you want to see this in action, take a look at the gross kinds of growth occuring in Yelm at this point. Hopefully some reasonable purchase or compensation can occur to help you out, but who knows? :confused: :confused:

    -- Cheers
    -- James
  19. Tom O'Riley Member

    Posts: 102
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Just a thought But as a farmer and a long time native fish supporter just remember that most of us are better stuards of the land than the urban dwellers who don't know what they are appling to there lawns and don't care anyway.We care for the land because its our life. Good streamside maitanece is just good buisness for most of us. But attitude is everything and the Farm rebellion agaist unfair Govement takings is just getting started so I propose that we stop shouting at each other and work together for a common good ie the fisheries.
  20. gt Active Member

    Posts: 2,616
    sequim, WA
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    no one is shouting at you tom. in fact my friends in oregon tell me some of the biggest opponents of their measure 37 were small family farm owners, not the corporate farms. what has happened to these small family farms is not a pretty picture.

    keep up your concern for our planet, i certainly appreciate any and everything you can do to insure a liveable planet for my and your grandchildren.