Washblog

Developer Loophole Initiative filed by 'Farmers'

Our fake property rights advocates, the Washington Farm Bureau and the Building Industry Association of Washington, have filed their loophole initiative to develop farmland into tract housing and big-box retail stripmalls.

More over the fold.

Oregon's Measure 37, which was thrown out in court last year, was the basis from which the developers crafted this initiative. Simply put, it will kill protections for everything from salmon spawning areas in streams to green space, and will forever ruin the rural lifestyle. Because most local governments will not have the kind of money necessary to compensate what this mandate demands, they will choose not to enforce those regulations, and allow the stripmalls and housing tracts to be built without any public comment.

In Oregon, rural landowners who initially supported the initiative were upset when their neighbors filed multimillion-dollar claims to build casino resorts on farmland and massive residential subdivisions in the midst of vineyards, said Rex Burkholder, a councilor for the regional government serving the Portland metropolitan area.

"It's a disaster. It kind of says let's trim your fingernails with a meat cleaver and you end up causing lots of damage," he said. "Many people who voted for it are pretty shocked when their neighbors start wanting to take advantage of the limitations on regulation and they find they have nothing to say about it."

Jon from Vanblog lays out a local example of why we need land-use laws in the first place:

Every law has its origin in someone being stupid, criminal or a plain-old jackass. It's one thing to park a car or trailer in the grass in the middle of the summer for a few days. If there were no stupid people, no criminals and no jackasses we wouldn't need very many laws.

But a quick jaunt through Clark County will reveal a permanent Blue Tarp Forest of beaters, boats and tenements on wheels parked in every conceivable space.

Which lowers my property values, because if people wanted to live next to Ma and Pa Kettle they could move to the real Arkansas, instead of the faux-Arkansas we call Clark County.

As with anything that comes from these phony populists, the devil is in the details. The BIAW and Farm Bureau call it 'property rights'. The dishonestly in their argument should make people realize that a scam is taking place. For example, in their "Examples of Excessive Regulations or Proposed Regulations that Damage Use and Value of Private Property", there is no mention of any  excessive regulation occuring on a farm. Seems strange the Washington Farm Bureau would file an initiative on something they can't provide an example of in their own literature.

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Call it what it is, a developer's dream come true initiative! Farm land is supposed to be worth less than comparative property in the city, so if you want to develop your farmland into housing, then you not are a farmer, you are a developer! This has absoultely nothing to do with farmers and their property rights.

by eastside lib on Thu Feb 09, 2006 at 02:18:33 PM PST

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