Thoughts on I-933 and impacts on habitat
I noticed American Rivers taking a stand on this as bad for salmon and steelhead:
Would be interesting to have Washington Trout and the Wild Steelhead Coalition weigh in on this as something to worry about or not.
This study was conducted by The Northwest Center for Livable Communities, a research and public service center in the Department of Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington's College of Architecture and Urban Planning. A team of experts led by regional economist Glen Pascall analyzed the potential legal and economic impacts of ballot initiative 933.
THE IMPACTS OF PROPOSED
INITIATIVE 933 ON REAL
PROPERTY AND LAND USE IN
The intensive research effort required to perform the analyses contained in
this study was made possible by funding from the following Washington Statebased
The Brainerd Foundation
The Henry M. Jackson Foundation
The Martin-Fabert Foundation
The Russell Family Foundation
The Wilburforce Foundation
The public dissemination of the fi ndings of this study was made possible by
funding from the following Washington State-based foundations:
The Brainerd Foundation
The Bullitt Foundation
The Northwest Fund for the Environment
Administrative and academic coordination for the study was provided by
the Center for Livable Communities, co-chaired by Dr. Fritz Wagner and Dr.
Hilda Blanco. The Center is located at the College of Architecture and Urban
Planning, University of Washington. Project Coordinator for the study was Dr.
The Legal Analysis of Initiative 933 was coordinated by attorney Keith
Dearborn. Other legal review team members included attorneys John
Hempelmann, David Mann, Alison Moss, Elaine Spencer and Hugh Spitzer.
The Fiscal Analysis of Initiative 933 was performed by Dr. William B. Beyers,
with research associates Stephen J. Hyde and Derik A. Andreoli, Department
of Geography, University of Washington, and Dr. Paul Sommers, Institute of
Public Service and Albers School of Business, Seattle University
Research Coordinator for the study was regional economist Glenn Pascall. He
also co-authored the Reasonable Remedies section with Keith Dearborn.
Ballot Initiative 933, titled the “Property Fairness Initiative,” appears to be
based on a simple premise: If regulations imposed by Washington State or
local governments restrict the use or development of private property, the
loss of value to the owner should be refl ected in a policy of “pay or waive.”
Government should either compensate the owner for damages or waive the
regulation that imposes the restriction.
To fully understand how the passage of I-933 would affect state laws,
taxpayers and communities, the University of Washington’s College of
Architecture and Urban Design has sponsored this independent objective
research study through its Northwest Center for Livable Communities. The
study analyzes I-933’s likely impacts for the citizens of this state. The study
provides both legal and economic analysis.
The legal team assembled for this study has an extensive background
representing large and small private landowners, developers, and
municipalities. No member of the team had taken a public position on I-933
prior to his or her participation in the analysis. The economic analysis was
conducted by senior researchers with decades of experience in land-use
analysis and fi scal impact analysis. They were assisted by graduate student
researchers skilled in the use of geographic information systems, or GIS.
The analysis focuses on the legal and economic impacts of I-933 as it pertains
to regulation of “real property.” I-933 as written would have implications not
only for real estate, but on intellectual property rights, water rights, motor
vehicles, securities and intangible commercial assets. However, this analysis
does not address the potential non-real estate impacts of I-933.
The economic team concentrated on the likely short-term costs of the
Initiative, including the administrative cost of processing claims. The far
larger cost results from paying claims for compensation between the value of
land based on its current use and the economic value if full development were
unrestricted by regulation.
This study’s fi ndings are based on a detailed, independent and rigorous
analysis, using experienced professionals and a wide range of objective and
verifi able data.
Given the magnitude of issues and likely outcomes related to the Initiative, the
study concludes by offering alternatives to I-933 in the form of reasonable
remedies that would support greater fairness and equity in ways that respect
community values and are affordable to taxpayers.
• In the near term, I-933 could cost taxpayers nearly $8 billion – more
than $1,000 per resident – to pay expected compensation claims.
• Virtually every county would likely be faced with claims, yet none have a
tax revenue source in place for paying them.
• Though described as establishing a “pay or waive” system, I-933 does
not have the power to permit waivers under three of the most relevant
state laws – the Growth Management Act, the State Environmental
Policy Act, and Shoreline Management Act. As drafted, the Initiative
does not legally amend these laws, and the laws do not permit waivers.
• Because waivers will likely not be permitted, the only option available to
state or local government may be to pay compensation claims. If there
is not enough tax revenue to cover the cost of compensation, the result
would be a “stymied decision” – a paralysis between “pay or waive.”
• The net effect of I-933 would be to create a highly uncertain regulatory
environment in which neither landowners nor local governments will
have fi rm footing. The courts, from a practical perspective, would
serve for an indefi nite period as the regulator for many if not most
land-use decisions in the state. As a result, the process for resolving
property confl icts and issuing development permits would likely be
slowed, not accelerated, by I-933.
• I-933 would likely lead to a greater role for federal government in
the region as federal law may require federal agencies to reassert3
functions that had been delegated to state and local governments.
• I-933 would likely also lead to a greater reliance on public nuisance
laws whose outcomes are piecemeal and hard to predict.
• The total liability for compensation under I-933 is estimated at $7.8
billion. This amount was derived by eliminating the overlap between
critical areas claims and development value claims.
• The largest single impact of I-933 would be related to critical areas
that are protected to prevent fl ooding and protect fi sh, wildlife
and groundwater. In the near-term, I-933 compensation claims on
timberland with critical areas could total $3.1 billion and farmland with
critical areas could be $3.2 billion.
• More than one-fi fth of the critical areas claims would be in King and
Snohomish counties, at a potential cost of $1.5 billion to taxpayers.
King County has more acres that may yield I-933 claims than any other
county in the state.
• Farmland, which is mostly on the east side of the state and largely
insulated from development pressures, would see the fewest claims.
Yet they could still approach $1 billion.
• Claims on timberlands would likely total $2 billion, and on other rural
lands $1.6 billion.
Public opinion surveys and the ability of I-933 advocates to get the measure
on the ballot suggests that many citizens support reasonable remedies to help
landowners whose property values are affected by regulations. But by using
a sweeping and overly general approach to help one set of aggrieved people,
the Initiative would have the unintended consequence of creating another,
larger set of aggrieved people.
If land use laws cannot be waived, there would be a newly aggrieved group of
non-benefi ted taxpayers responsible for paying I-933’s costs of compensation.
If land use laws were waived, the list of aggrieved people would include
property owners suffering a loss of value as undesirable development arrives
on neighboring property. It would include communities that see their character
and quality of life damaged by unrestricted development. It would also include
a large group of land developers with the type of proposals that normally
receive routine approval but would now be backlogged by the processing of
I-933 compensation claims.
A truly fair remedy would safeguard current values as well compensate losses
created by restrictions. This means protecting property owners against
neighboring, inappropriate uses and shielding communities threatened by overdevelopment.
Fairness also means accounting for “windfalls” – the value added by regulation
– as well as “wipeouts,” or losses from regulation. Failure to make this
calculation is one reason huge compensation costs from I-933 would fall on
the general taxpayer.
For more information about this study, please visit http://I933study.washington.edu.
VP Political Affairs
Wild Steelhead Coalition
Two reasons to vote NO come out of this...
Bad for Conservation/Fish/Wildife
Horribly Expensive (and unfunded)
One more reason.
Bad idea to legislate by initiative.
The WSC Board voted to oppose I-933 and signed onto American Rivers Letter opposing it as well as various other members of the Steelhead Summit Alliance.
-Lost poor realitive of the Simms family fishing fortune
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