Just six years ago, Arizonans enacted one of the nation’s strongest protections for property rights. That measure is Proposition 207, and it says the government must compensate you when regulations reduce your property value.
(Un)Welcome to Sedona!
But that protection is under attack. Now that the state and cities can’t pass the buck to individuals and families, governments are realizing just how expensive their regulations can be. So it is unsurprising that they’re doing their best to avoid paying the high price.
The latest attempt comes from Sedona, which made it a crime to rent residential property for fewer than 30 days, and the city defines “rent” very broadly. This means property owners are subject to punishments of up to 6 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine for engaging in a wide range of activities, including purchasing a time share, contracting for home improvements, and even hiring a babysitter!
Attempting to avoid Prop 207 liability, the city of Sedona tried to masquerade the ordinance as a “health and safety” regulation, which is exempted from Prop 207. But the court of appeals saw through the façade and ruled that the city can’t avoid Prop 207 by merely claiming to advance public health without offering any evidence that the regulation actually does so.
On the taxpayers’ dime, Sedona is challenging that decision in the Arizona Supreme Court. The Goldwater Institute, which has long defended property owners from government attempts to dilute or evade Prop. 207, is supporting Sedona property owners in that case. In 2006, Arizonans demanded genuine protections for their property. Cities should stop wasting taxpayer resources trying to skirt the rules and start respecting their citizens’ rights.
Goldwater Institute: Giving Property Owners Their Day in Court
Arizona Business Gazette: Court: Owners must be paid for property value