Group aims to stop property claims initiative
An opposition group has been formed to fight a property owners claims initiative.
Taxpayers Against Measure D presented arguments against the initiative in statements filed with the Nevada County Elections Office, describing the measure as “The Lawyers Full Employment Act.”
But initiative proponents warn in their statement that “Thou Shalt Not Steal!” – a reference to the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the taking of private property for public use without compensation.
“Consider it homeowner’s insurance without an annual premium to pay,” the proponents wrote.
Both were writing about Measure D, an initiative that would set up a claims process to reimburse property owners for uncompensated property takings caused by government regulations.
Wednesday opened a 10-day public inspection period for statements for and against issues that will appear on the November ballot. Measure D was the only issue on the ballot in Nevada County that drew any opposition.
Sam Dardick, a former Nevada County supervisor listed as one of the organizers of Taxpayers Against Measure D, said a group is being formed to fight the measure.
People are concerned the initiative’s impact on the county will be costly, jeopardizing services, said Dardick. He said he is developing a program for long-term care, and worries that it could be affected.
“I think it’s a vague proposal, racked with all kinds of havoc, that will lead to litigation and the loss and lessening of county services,” Dardick said.
The opposition group argued that the initiative would cost taxpayers $500 a year in reduced services or higher fees, create a $500,000-a-year bureaucracy, clog courts, require taxpayers to pay millions of dollars for projects that developers don’t even intend to build, and – according to a county-funded study – cost the county up to $10 million a year.
The group also claims the initiative would decrease property values by failing to protect neighbors from incompatible and inconsistent uses next door.
Russ Steele, an initiative proponent, could not be immediately reached for comment.
Measure D proponents wrote that an impartial financial analysis has never been done.
“Supervisors used your tax dollars to create a report filled with large, scary numbers, just to stop Measure D from challenging their power,” they wrote.
The measure does not change zoning, or lower property values, as opponents claim, they wrote. It simply requires Nevada County to create a local process with Superior Court oversight to stop uncompensated takings through local regulations, according to supporters.
Proponents urge voters to approve Measure D to protect the right to own and use property without more government interference.
They argue that the measure protects property rights of current and future landowners, clears away expensive roadblocks to fighting takings in court, makes county government more accountable to its citizens, and allows the county to continue to protect health and welfare.
The measure’s proponents also mention the county’s embattled open-space protection program, Natural Heritage 2020, which ended in July. They say it’s not dead, as county officials claim, but merely a “cancer in remission.”
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