You know you're a land use junkie if…you spend a Saturday night pouring over forms being mailed to Measure 37 claimants, so they can choose what to do under Measure 49.
Yes, that describes me. I had to see whether Willamette Week spoke truly when reporter Nigel Jaquiss said the form is "29 pages long, and not what most claimants are likely to regard as simple."
I found that Willamette Week is way off base. The packet being sent to Measure 37 claimants apparently is indeed 29 pages long (can't be sure, since "draft" is stamped on the copy WW posted).
But actual forms, the sort you fill out, total 4 pages. And if there aren't any non-claimant owners of a property, only 3 pages need to be dealt with.
A cover letter, instructions, and a 14 page Measure 49 guide comprise the rest of the packet. Looks simple enough to me, just as the proponents of Measure 49 promised. Check it out (sorry dial-up users, it's a 1.7 MB PDF file): Download DraftM49StatePacket.pdf
Five options are available to Measure 37 claimants: Express, Conditional, Vested, Withdrawal, UGB/City Withdrawal. Only if the Express (up to three home sites) or Conditional (four to ten home sites) option is chosen will additional information possibly need to be submitted.
Under the other three options, the state Measure 37 claim is closed.
With Express, the required information may already have been submitted with the original claim. Ditto with Conditional, though much less likely, given the need to supply appraisals that demonstrate an actual loss of value due to a land use regulation.
Dave Hunnicutt of Oregonians in Action is trying to spin Measure 49 as a victory for his organization, since it allows claims to be filed if new land use regulations reduce the value of certain types of property.
What he didn't mention, though, is that compensation now is limited to the amount of an owner's loss. No more wholesale waiving of regulations if a claimant can demonstrate even one dollar of loss. That's a big improvement over Measure 37.
An interesting wrinkle is on page 8 of the PDF packet.
Claimants who choose the Vested option (where they try to prove that they're far enough along with their Measure 37 development to be "grandfathered" in to the old law) can't move to the Express or Conditional options if it turns out that they aren't vested.
So the choice for some will be whether to snap up a virtually guaranteed three home sites, or roll the vesting dice and hope for more – knowing that zero home sites also is a possible outcome, if the Measure 37 claim is determined not to be vested.
It's good to see that the Department of Land Conservation and Development is moving ahead expeditiously with the transition from Measure 37 to Measure 49.
I'm sure there will be moaning and crying from Oregonians in Action supporters about the DLCD packet. They need to keep in mind, though, that Measure 37 was so poorly written, it spawned hundreds of lawsuits. That's a lot of paperwork.
Measure 49 is much clearer. And fairer.
Last November Oregon voters overwhelmingly affirmed that they wanted our state's farm, forest, and groundwater limited land protected from over-development. They didn't want the rights of a few to pave over the rights of the many.
It'll take a bit of form-filling to implement the people's will. No big deal, especially compared to the really onerous forms that every taxpayer will have to wade through before April 15.