Proposition 207, the Property Rights Protection Act, is a great example of citizens using the initiative process exactly as it was intended. Citizens are attempting to protect themselves from local government encroaching on their property rights, when other attempts to obtain relief have failed.
This initiative not only protects against financially motivated eminent domain abuse, it also offers important protections against "regulatory takings." A regulatory taking occurs when government restricts the use of private property to a point that the property's value is reduced.
The East Valley Tribune recently asserted that adopting these changes would "disrupt all efforts at reasonable zoning and land use planning." That's a red herring, at best.
This proposal would grandfather in all existing laws and regulations. Moreover, cities would not have to pay for the costs of regulation in cases relating to pollution, building codes, fire danger, and similar matters. Governments could still do normal planning and protect the health and safety of citizens.
Property rights advocates have been rebuffed by the Supreme Court. The governor has blocked their attempt to work through the system. Now they're taking the matter to the people.
Secure, reasonable property rights are what Arizonans need and deserve. This plan would simply assure that the spirit of the Constitution is honored.
Tom Patterson is chairman of the Goldwater Institute and a former state senator. A longer version of this article originally appeared in the East Valley Tribune. The Goldwater Institute does not support or oppose specific legislation, but adheres to its educational mission to help policymakers and citizens better understand the consequences of government policies.
-East Valley Tribune: Prop. 207 right for property owners
-Goldwater Institute: Playing the Takings Game: How Government Regulates Away Property Rights
-Goldwater Institute: Condemning Condemnation: Alternatives to Eminent Domain