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Compensation for landowners OK'd

Also article here: The Daily Camera: State/west
Ore. land rules thrown into doubt


November 3, 2004

Voters decisively approved a measure to compensate landowners if land-use rules reduce their property values.

Measure 37 requires state, county, city or other governments to pay fair-market value for enacting or enforcing land-use regulations that restrict use of private property.

Voters passed a similar compensation measure in 2000 -- a constitutional amendment -- but the Supreme Court struck it down on legal grounds in 2002.

"It's just the idea we said all along that you can have (land-use) planning and treat people fairly," said David Hunnicutt, executive director of Oregonians in Action, the group that backed the measure. "That's the missing piece of Oregonians' land-use planning and Measure 37 fills that piece."

Hunnicutt doesn't think the passage of the measure will end the debate, however.

"I definitely think it will have challenges, which is unfortunate because this is twice in four years that the public has made clear what they want," he said. "Finally, we have done what was meant in 1973 (land-use planning laws)."

Measure 37 opponents said they worry about the price tag.

In their fiscal impact statement, state officials estimated that Measure 37 will cost local governments $46 million to $300 million per year and the state $28 million to $44 million annually.

"This was a very misleading ballot title," said Bob Stacey, executive director of 1,000 Friends of Oregon. "The folks who put it up have succeeded in using it to put the rest of us Oregonians in the face of a big price tag for their gain. Of course the real challenge now is all of us -- legislators and citizens -- are going to have to figure out how to pay the bill."

He said much about the ballot measure is uncertain.

"It is only certain that there is going to be development through waivers or big bills to pay to prevent those waivers and major costs to be paid to sort out those claims," he said. "I am very concerned about the erosion of our working neighborhoods and landscapes."





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