I-933: Reducing Homeowner Rights for the Benefit of Irresponsible Development

Initiative 933 is not a”Property Fairness Act” at all. If passed I-933 would, instead, dramatically reduce the legal rights of communities to protect themselves from harmful actions. Growth management, logging, shoreline protections, and protections of drinking water quality and air quality would be jeopardized. Here in the Griffin area, we are not solely “property owners,” but homeowners. We oppose I-933 because of how its passing would eliminate our rights to have a say in how our community will grow and how we will protect our property and quality of life.

How can this be? Promoters of this initiative tell us it only defends reasonable property rights against government intrusion. It does this by forcing local governments to either pay landowners for claims of diminished property values due to land use laws or not enforce those laws at all. All of Washington’s forestry laws, its shoreline protections and many water laws would not be enforced.

As homeowners in the Griffin area, we know our area is going to continue to experience increasing development pressure. At the same time, we recognize the value of our property is affected by the quality of life here in western Thurston County. Imagine the impact on your property values if developers were permitted to foul our aquifers and despoil our shorelines. Think about the effect of unfettered development which does not keep pace with schools and roads. This initiative does not lead to “fairness.” Instead, it will eliminate our ability to safeguard our health, safety and quality of life.

Elsewhere in Thurston County, we are already feeling the effects of growth. For example:

  • In the last three years, the city of Lacey has used up its 20 year water supply
  • Because of polluted runoff, Henderson Inlet was closed to shellfish harvesting.
  • An updated Comprehensive Plan failed to protect even one-third of the County’s working farms from expensive rural development.

We do not want the peninsula between Eld and Totten inlets to join this list.

None of us like government intrusion into our lives. All of us know that we need to hold our elected representatives’ feet to the fire on matters related to growth. We know there are examples of unreasonable land use regulations, but we recognize there is no panacea for the many issues which confront rural homeowners living on the fringes of the urban growth boundaries of Thurston County. I-933 is not a “magic bullet” for the problem of over-regulation. Instead, it replaces the will of the people with the short-term profit motive of reckless developers.

We are intelligent enough to understand the implications of an initiative disguised by its promoters as the “Property Fairness Act.” This is, in fact, “The Irresponsible Developer’s Initiative,” bought and paid for by interests that don’t share our values and don’t live in our neighborhoods.

Happily, we can learn from Oregon’s experience with their own similar initiative. In that state, Measure 37 was approved by voters who didn’t understand its impacts. Since its passage in 2004, 2500 claims have been made for development of tens of thousands of acres. Governments in Oregon have been forced to fail to enforce reasonable, common-sense protections for public health and safety.

Washington voters defeated another initiative of this kind, called Measure 48, ten years ago.

This time around, let’s not even sign the petition to place I-933 on the ballot.

Learn more about I-933:
Click here for the Community Protection Coalition
Click here for Futurewise
Seattle Times article: “Preserve land-use standards that protect our families”
Seattle Times editorial: “Property rights a slam dunk? Not so fast”
July 2005 Summary on effects of Oregon’s Measure 37
August 2005 update on the effect of Oregon’s Measure 37 on rural communities and public health
October 2005 ruling on constitutionality of Oregon’s Measure 37
March 2006 upholding constitutionality of Oregon’s Meaasure 37

What are your opinions regarding the aims of I-933 and the tactics of its promoters? Click on the POST A COMMENT link below to leave your comments.

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