Supporters of Oregon’s Measure 37, which trashed our state’s land use laws, like to talk about property rights. But now Oregon is facing property wrongs caused by the inherent unfairness of Measure 37, which created a privileged class of landowner.
Such is the conclusion of a report, “Property Wrongs: Lessons from Oregon on ‘property rights’” that was released today by Seattle’s Sightline Institute.
It features six case studies of the ill effects of Measure 37. Our Spring Lake Estates neighborhood is one of them. As I described in my previous post, a hydrogeologist has found that commonly-owned Spring Lake is threatened by a 215 acre subdivision.
The Measure 37 claimant, Leroy Laack, plans to sell 82 lots, each of which would have its own well. Currently his land is zoned for exclusive farm use. If it weren’t for his being able to roll back the clock via Measure 37, Marion County would require him to subdivide into parcels of at least ten acres if he wanted to change his zoning to AR (acreage residential).
So our neighborhood stands to get screwed, water-wise, while Laack plans to make out like a bandit, money-wise. Laurel and I are doing our best to right this wrong, along with many of our neighbors. The Sightline Report says (p.11):
Laurel Hines is another resident concerned about the new development’s effects on her property. She says she moved to Oregon in 1979 from the Midwest partially because she respected the state’s land use laws. Laurel says that in contrast to the shared sense of community at Spring Lake Estates, the adjacent landowner so far appears unconcerned about the impact of the proposed development on the community.
“We expected things to be the way they were and that the land use laws would protect us, and now we can’t depend on them,” Hines says.
Don Dean, a neighbor of ours, is quoted as saying that he believes he voted for Measure 37, but didn’t take as much time as he should have to review and understand the measure.
Like a lot of other people.
Oregonians got conned into voting for Measure 37 by Oregonians in Action, which made it look as if this would help people overcome heartless government bureaucrats who were preventing them from building a single home on long-held family land.
The reality is far different.
As this report shows, it’s a gravel mine moving in next door to an alpaca farm; it’s building a geothermal plant in a national monument; it’s surrounding a working forest with suburbs; it’s losing farmland and gaining lawsuits; it’s a subdivision sucking up a lake’s water supply; it’s farmers not being able to sell their land because of an adjacent Measure 37 claim.
Oregonians were deceived into passing a destructive law. Hopefully the states that are voting on similar proposals in November will learn from our experience.
Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Washington: vote “No” on these so-called pay or waive schemes. Oregon used to be admired as a pioneering state. I guess we still are, but now we’re showing the rest of the country what not to do.
Fair land use laws protect everybody’s interests. Heed the lesson of the Sightline report:
In each case profiled here, Measure 37 has allowed one property owner to harm the interests, and sometimes the property values, of neighbors.
In case you have trouble accessing the report via the link above, click on this direct link.