By Sen. Doug Whitsett (R-KFalls Dist 28)
(Editor’s note- Sen. Whitsett was the higher bidder at the D-9 Foundation for the right an editorial opinion in the Upper Rogue Independent.)
Ballot Measure 49
The voters of Oregon have twice restored property rights taken by the state through its unique land use-planning scheme. The Supreme Court overturned the first effort, the Measure 7 constitutional amendment, on the technicality that a constitutional amendment can address only one topic. In contrast, when Measure 37 was challenged the Supreme Court upheld every component of the law.
Measure 49 will overturn virtually all of the property rights
protection that 61% of the voters passed in Measure 37. It will nullify
all current claims including virtually all claims that have previously
been accepted by the county and the state. It eliminates all current
and future commercial or industrial claims. It will nullify virtually
all claims by landowners whose property values may be diminished by
future land use regulation.
Measure 49 allows state and local
government entities to charge any fee they desire to process a claim.
Further, it requires that the landowner pay the governments’ lawyers
and planners to scrutinize their application and appraisals. It
requires both the landowner and the government to obtain an appraisal
for each law or rule that diminishes the value of their property in
either the 4 to 10 home scheme, or for any claim within an urban growth
boundary. Each appraisal must be based on the real estate value of the
property at the time the rule or law was enacted. It also requires the
claimant to pay for both the landowners’ and the governments’ appraisal
costs. Additionally, it requires back payment of deferred taxes when
determining the loss of value that was caused by land use regulations.
49 moves virtually all of the claim acceptance authority to the state
and virtually eliminates the timeline for processing claims allowing
local and state government to prolong action indefinitely. Moreover, it
eliminates the landowners’ right provided by Measure 37 to seek land
use decisions in district court.
Measure 49 allows any third
party from any state that proposes to have an interest to file a
lawsuit challenging the landowners’ right to develop their land. It
requires that the landowner pay both their own attorney, and the
government attorney, to defend against a third party lawsuit.
Incredibly, it does not even allow the landowner to recover attorney
fees if he wins in court.
Measure 49 contains other broken promises.
It will only allow two homes on a parcel that already has one home and
even may dictate where those homes may be placed. It functionally
eliminates all residential claims within urban growth boundaries by
making the rules so onerous and expensive that no one can afford to
meet the requirements. It effectively eliminates the 4 to 10 home
option for all but the wealthiest landowners for the same reasons.
3540, referred to the voters as Measure 49, passed out of the Ways and
Means Committee, the House of Representatives, and the Senate on a
straight partisan vote without a single Republican’s support. The bill
received no public hearing. It contained an emergency clause
prohibiting the people from challenging the bill in the Supreme Court.
A separate bill was passed by a straight Democrat partisan vote that
discarded the Attorney General’s fair ballot title and description and
inserted another with words selected by the Democrat majority through
focus groups and polling that would best insure that the Measure
passed. The deck is stacked. The fix is in to convince the people to
vote to give the state their property rights.