Snoqualmie first to oppose I-933

Snoqualmie is leading the initial charge of cities opposing Initiative 933, the "property fairness" initiative.

When the City Council adopted a resolution opposing the initiative at its Aug. 14 meeting, the city became first in the state to do so. As of Aug. 18, the cities of Newcastle and Olympia had also voted to oppose I-933.

The controversial initiative concerns government regulation of private property. It will be presented to Washington state voters at the general election Nov. 7, 2006.

"Fundamentally, it's just a very poorly written initiative," Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson said. "[The concern over I-933 is] very applicable to Snoqualmie, given we're the fasted growing city in Washington."

If passed in November, the Washington State Farm Bureau-backed initiative would roll back zoning to pre-1996, prior to the state's adoption of its Growth Management Act.

City, county and state governments would have to pay property owners for any restrictions placed on their land or choose not to enforce them.

The initiative would also require governments to allow actions such as dike building, tree cutting and other activities currently barred in areas deemed environmentally sensitive or pay for lost property value.

"It just leaves too many open doors and creates too many problems," Larson said. "There's enough ambiguity in the language and with the cost of trying to deal with it, it would cause planning and regulations to start breaking down ... It opens up Pandora's box."

Snoqualmie Councilmember Kathi Prewitt proposed the resolution July 24. However, the council chose to gather more information before taking a vote Aug. 14.

The resolution passed 5-0. Council members Bob Jeans and Jeff MacNichols abstained from the vote.

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