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Measure 49 unfair; it would take away rights that should belong to property owners
By Senator Doug Whitsett, Guest writer  10/28/07

   Voters of Oregon have twice restored property rights taken by the state through its unique land use planning scheme.
   The Supreme Court overturned the first effort, the Measure 7 constitutional amendment, on the technicality that a constitutional amendment can address only one topic. In contrast, when Measure 37 was challenged, the Supreme Court upheld every component of the law.
   Measure 49 will overturn virtually all of the property rights protection that 61 percent of the voters passed in Measure 37. It will nullify all current claims including virtually all claims that have previously been accepted by the county and the state. It eliminates all current and future commercial or industrial claims. It will nullify virtually all claims by landowners whose property values may be diminished by future land use regulation.

No ceiling on fees

Measure 49 allows state and local government entities to charge any fee they desire to process a claim. Further, it requires that the landowner pay the governments’ lawyers and planners to scrutinize their application and appraisals. It requires both the landowner and the government to obtain an appraisal for each law or rule that diminishes the value of their property in either the four-to-10-home scheme, or for any claim within an urban growth boundary.

   Each appraisal must be based on the real estate value of the property at the time the rule or law was enacted. It also requires the claimant to pay for both the landowners’ and the governments’ appraisal costs. Additionally, it requires back payment of deferred taxes when determining the loss of value that was caused by land-use regulations.
   Measure 49 moves virtually all of the claim acceptance authority to the state and virtually eliminates the timeline for processing claims allowing local and state government to prolong action indefinitely. Moreover, it eliminates the landowners’ right provided by Measure 37 to seek land use decisions in district court.
   Measure 49 allows any third party from any state that proposes to have an interest to file a lawsuit challenging the landowners’ right to develop land. It requires that the landowner pay both his or her own attorney, and the government attorney, to defend against a third party lawsuit. Incredibly, it does not even allow the landowner to recover attorney fees if he wins in court.
   Measure 49 contains other broken promises. It will only allow two homes on a parcel that already has one home and even may dictate where those homes may be placed. It functionally eliminates all residential claims within urban growth boundaries by making the rules so onerous and expensive that no one can afford to meet the requirements. It effectively eliminates the 4-to-10 home option for all but the wealthiest landowners for the same reasons.
   HB 3540, referred to the voters as Measure 49, passed out of the Ways and Means Committee, the House of Representatives, and the Senate on a straight partisan vote without a single Republican’s support.

No challenge allowed    

The bill received no public hearing.

   It contained an emergency clause prohibiting the people from challenging the bill in the Supreme Court.
   A separate bill was passed by a straight Democrat partisan vote that discarded the Attorney General’s fair ballot title and description and inserted another with words selected by the Democratic majority through focus groups and polling that would best insure that the Measure passed.
   The deck is stacked. The fix is in to convince the people to vote to give the state their property rights.
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