Yes on I-933

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I-933 is a Washington State Initiative that, essentially, would force the government to compensate landowners when regulations reduce the value of their land. So if you tell me I can no longer build on 60 percent of my land because of some critical areas ordinance, fine, you have to pay me for that.

The local paper wrote a story this week, "I-933 costs could be billions".

Well, it's not true. A friend of mine -- one of my PCOs -- is a civil engineer who does a lot of work for the county. He intimately knows the technical details of many of the issues involved, and he's a sharp guy. He wrote this letter in response, which I present without comment, because none is needed.

The cost of land use regulations is already billions whether or NOT I-933 is passed. The study might be objective, but the reporting of this story certainly was not. The land use regulations are already costing us billions, the real problem is this cost is now unfairly carried by the few land owners themselves instead of all of the taxpayers, as required by law.

In effect this study confirms that state regulations have unconstitutionally caused regulatory "takings" of private property without compensation. So instead of the cost of these environmental regulations being paid by the taxpayer as they should, they are now carried by the relatively few unfortunate land owners subject to these regulations. If this private land is really worth preserving, under I-933 the lawmakers of this state will have to weigh the legitimate cost to be borne by the state against the presumed value of what we gain by preserving it. Currently the state unfairly requires the landowner to carry all of the cost of preserving the land.

In other words, if the people of the state benefit by preserving private land, either all or in part, than the people of the state should be paying for it, not the individual land owner.

The headline to this article should have more accurately read: "State costs property owners $8 to 9 billion in unconstitutional regulatory takings." Not likely we will ever see a headline like that in the Hearld, or even in the letters section. Clearly the authors of the study, and the reporting of it, were not very objective.

Peter Chopelas

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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