March 05, 2009
Hope-n-change for rural land owners

That would be hope-n-change in a good way:

Rural property owners who fought a King County law severely restricting how much land they can clear have won a huge victory.

The state Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to review an appeals-court decision that struck down the law as an improper tax or fee on development. Chief Justice Gerry Alexander signed an order in which he and four other justices unanimously denied the county's petition for review of the Court of Appeals ruling.

The clearing restrictions, part of a package that includes the Critical Areas Ordinance, require rural property owners to keep native vegetation on 50 to 65 percent of their land, depending on its size. They were adopted as a way of protecting streams and wildlife, including the threatened chinook salmon.

Steve Hammond, president of the Citizens' Alliance for Property Rights, said the order "puts the nail in the coffin" of the most controversial element in the critical-areas package.

Funny thing, it turns out policy that amounts to a taking of 50% - 65% of someone's property isn't all that legal in the end. Note also the unanimous nature of the court's decision.

Posted by Eric Earling at March 05, 2009 08:43 AM | Email This
1. The scary thing is what that battle axe intends to do to any rural landowner in the permit process for building so much as a dog house.

I will NEVER live in King County.

Posted by: Andy on March 5, 2009 08:39 AM
2. The Private Property Rights of the Citizen also, coincides with "A man's House is a man's Castle". When you lose your property rights, you no longer have Liberty, you have Tyranny.

Posted by: Daniel on March 5, 2009 09:23 AM
3. I'm still holding out for the 'Hope'...and my 401K has turned into 'Change' alas, I guess POTUS Obama is 'delivering'. :)

Posted by: Duffman on March 5, 2009 09:47 AM
4. Duffie
'Hope'...and my 401K has turned into 'Change' alas, I guess POTUS Obama is 'delivering'. :)

Hey buddy. I have medical stocks... It's going down so fast I won't even have any change left. )-:

Posted by: Medic/Vet on March 5, 2009 09:51 AM
5. Thx M/V..misery loves company; it ain't lookin good. :)

Posted by: Duffman on March 5, 2009 09:59 AM
6. And that flop as President shows his complete ignorance of reality by comparing Price/Earnings ratios as Profit Earning ratios or something of that sort.

Geithner has no senior level staff. Those rascally Republicans again? Er, no; boy genius hasn't submitted any names- he is too busy going toe to toe with Limbaugh and losing to the Ruskies.

Ready for impeachment Democrats? You run the show.

Posted by: swatter on March 5, 2009 10:00 AM
7. I haven't been happy with some of the decisions the WA Supremes have made in the last few years, but this is one case where they deserve major kudos:

If the Supremes had overturned this Appeals Court decision, it would have taken us even MUCH further down the road to total ''government ownership of land and the means of production''. IMO a lot of people failed to fully appreciate what a fundamental frontal attack on private property that this outrageous action by the Soviet Socialist Republic of King County amounted to. It's been pretty obvious for some time that ''nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation'' means nothing to the far-left big-government types that run the SSRKC.

Posted by: Methow Ken on March 5, 2009 10:07 AM
8. While this decision is a win, #1 is correct. MLKC is just going to make it permit hell to do anything, and there's nothing the courts can do about that.

Posted by: Palouse on March 5, 2009 10:26 AM
9. I wonder if it will soon be cheaper to just build without a permit and them pay the fines than it will be to go through the delays and costs associated with getting a permit.

Posted by: Ken on March 5, 2009 10:34 AM
10. @9 No, it won't be cheaper because they will make you take down your structure first, reapply for permits, and then deny them.

The Times article says they might make private landowners do environmental studies (and pay for them), but that could be challenged in court.

Posted by: Palouse on March 5, 2009 10:50 AM
11. We had 65% of our 10 acres confiscated by RobberHood Simms and his band of merry DDESmen. We are taxed residential (full, best use) on all 10 acres, yet 6.5 had to stay in native vegetation.

I laughed my butt off at the quote from the DDES about a "one size fits all restriction on clearing limits to make the process less onerous on property owners". We built two houses in KC in the last 5 years, which included getting a snootful of DDES's "processes". Waiting 3-5 months for a building permit, while babysitting every step of the process. Fees and restrictions galore, my favorite of which was a requirement for permit issuance to build a 700 ft long, 4 ft tall, wildlife passable fence around our small wetlands, made big by the 60 ft buffer, including 4ft. treated posts with wetland signs. The wetlands are within our 6.5 deeply wooded CAO area, on private property. Who exactly was going to see these signs? Tresspassers? When I asked DDES if it was okay to clear a 5 ft. wide tract along the 700 ft. fenceline of my unclearable 65% of my property, so I could get my truck through to build the fence, I was suddenly told that this requirement, which I had in writing, wasn't required. The backpedaling was almost worth the hassle.

Oh, I have to give a big kudos to Steve Hammond. When he was our councilman, he was approachable, quick to respond and extremely helpful. Regan Dunn? Not so much. Huge mistake, losing him as a rep, but grateful to have him working for rural landowners.

Posted by: BrassTax on March 5, 2009 11:16 AM
12. Take that, you liberty-killers at King County govt!

Posted by: Marlo on March 5, 2009 01:37 PM
13. The time has come to reelect nobody perhaps we can start with a clean slate of canadates since we have a problem of seperating the wheat from the chaff flush the whole mess and hope for better times and saner reps.

Posted by: erheault on March 5, 2009 03:32 PM
14. I think I'm going to celebrate by leveling a few of my acres.

I was happy with letting them remain in native vegetation, but if Ron Sims and his band of useful idiots tell me I HAVE to do it, then it was probably a bad idea.

I'll have firewood for the next 5 years!

Posted by: johnny on March 6, 2009 12:55 PM
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