Petition backers reach out for help |

Petition backers reach out for help

About 1,000 citizens should receive mail asking for their help to put an initiative on the November ballot that asks that property owners be reimbursed for loss of the use of their land.

Citizens for Fair & Balanced Land-use, a six-member political action committee with offices in Cedar Ridge, mailed out a letter dated March 15 asking for help getting the necessary signatures to put the Property Owner Reimbursement Process initiative on the ballot.

“We’re really enthusiastic at this point. We spent a lot of time refining it, and we know it will be challenged somewhere down the line,” said Paul Lawrason, spokesman for the committee. “We know there will be rocky spots in the road.”

The initiative asks that “Nevada County shall provide an orderly process for addressing claims for reimbursement, payable to the property owner, when it is determined that there is a reduction in the market of an owner’s parcel.”

A property owner would first have to go to the county Board of Supervisors, and then Superior Court if supervisors deny his claim.

County Counsel Charles McKee prepared a ballot title and summary in early February after proponents submitted the initiative proposal the third time.

Proponents have six months to gather signatures of 10 percent of the voters who cast ballots in the November 1998 gubernatorial election – 3,896 signatures – to get the measure on the November general election ballot.

If the group collects 7,792 signatures – 20 percent of the voters who cast ballots in the November 1998 gubernatorial election – the supervisors are required to schedule a special election for the initiative.

The letter, which was sent out to people the committee believes are likely to contribute time and money to the effort, was accompanied by a petition with spaces for 11 signatures, Lawrason said.

“All the material is there for someone to be a collector of signatures,” he said.

The committee has had help from a number of attorneys and organizations, but Lawrason declined to name them. McKee, who will have to declare the petition legally sufficient, declined to comment on whether the petition meets the exacting standards of the elections code concerning petitions.

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