Government needs to stop land lockup laws

Letter to the Editor

I’m tired of seeing the media, including letters to the editor, criticize and lie about Initiative 933, the private property rights initiative.

Voters, read the text for yourselves, either on your own computer or at the library. Realize that the section reading “Prohibiting or restricting any use or size, scope or intensity of any use legally existing or permitted as of January 1, 1996,” means that private property regulations passed to comply with the 1990 state Growth Management Act and other such regulations in effect on Jan. 1, 1996, are not affected by I-933. Nor are those later regulations affected “that apply equally to all property subject to the agency’s jurisdiction …”

What is affected are regulations such as the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) adopted by King County in 2004 that puts under strict government control 65 percent of a rural area landowner’s property, as well as the city of Kent’s recent adoption of wetlands buffers significantly wider that its Jan. 1, 1996, buffers.

(It’s interesting to note that Kent’s latest buffers adoption was forced by the state Department of Ecology, which highly approves of King County’s 2004 CAO regulations and deems them worthy of copying by cities. It’s even more interesting to note that neither in King County nor in Kent hearings did Ecology or anyone else present evidence that the then-existing (Jan. 1, 1996) buffers and other environmental protection requirements were inadequate and had caused environmental harm. If-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it pleas fell on deaf ears.)

Affordable housing may be a thing of the past, but it will become more affordable if the government can be forced to lay-off extreme post-1996 private land lockup laws that create public benefit at the expense of a few.

Maxine Keesling