A Simple Reason to Oppose Initiative 933.

Washington State on the November, 2006 ballot is really an attempt by the development community to create something called “developers rights”. Developers rights mean that individual property owners rights and community property rights disappear. That is because these developer rights would eliminate zoning and growth management regulations that protect individual property owners in a community.

The problem with I-933 is that while it supposedly says government must compensate you for any “damage” a regulation does to you, it says nothing about your being compensated for any damage your neighbor may do to you. By removing zoning and growth management protections. your neighbor can set up a motorcycle track, or a junk auto yard or a pig farm next door and you can’t stop them.

If I-933 passes you lose your protections and can actually see your property values go down. When your neighbor has the right to do whatever they want with their land it means you won’t be able to stop inappropriate development unless you pay them to not do it. Community and neighborhood values no longer count. The value of your land can decrease, especially when there is no longer any community certainty as to the future uses of land in the community.

Do you have the money to pay to stop a a WalMart or a junkyard or a gambling casino from being built next to you? Neither does our government. I-933 is legislation by developer interests to legalize extortion. What happens is that local governments have to give in and let them do whatever they want. They can’t afford to compensate for all alleged development.

As the Skagit Valley Herald noted in a recent editorial, I-933 is part of a national effort by libertarians like New York developer Howard Rich who pumped some $400,000 into the signature drive to put I-933 on this November’s ballot. Howard Rich don’t live or vote in Washington State.

I-933 is written to actually go back 10 years to determine its starting point for regulations and zoning. That in itself is a major flaw in the initiative. You’re not even voting for things as they are now.

And it also means that all future zoning changes and changes to growth management laws will open up government to lawsuits over “potential development”loses. There will no longer be any challenges to inappropriate development because any attempt to stop or change a project will be taken to court asking for “damages” or the unlimited “right to build.”

All because some rich East Coast Libertarians joined with the Washington State Farm Bureau – which represents corporate farmers – to argue that developers rights should trump individual and community rights.

Read more about the I-933 campaign by going to the Noon933 campaign website.

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