Petition campaign heats up |

Petition campaign heats up

Proponents of an initiative to create reimbursement for property owners who lose the use of their land due to Nevada County regulations are working to gather 6,000 signatures by May 21.

Citizens for Fair & Balanced Land-Use proposed their “Property Owner Claims Reimbursement Process Initiative” three times before they and County Counsel Charles McKee were satisfied with the ballot title and summary. The committee hopes to get the initiative on the November ballot.

“If we don’t get November, we’ll still collect signatures for the next available election,” said Russ Steele, chairman of the committee.

“We’re under the gun to get this done,” said Ben Nowland, the committee’s treasurer.

The initiative would require Nevada County to create a process in which property owners could present claims to Superior Court for reimbursement when it is determined that a piece of property loses value due to county regulations.

Proponents must gather at least 3,896 signatures – 10 percent of the votes cast in the November 1998 gubernatorial election – to get the measure on the November general election ballot.

If the group collects 7,792 signatures – twice the signatures required – the Board of Supervisors is required to schedule a special election for the initiative.

Last fall, property rights activists estimated they had gathered 8,700 signatures on unofficial petitions to ask supervisors to allow people to vote on the county’s resource protection program, Natural Heritage 2020.

Supervisors voted to put the program on a ballot after it’s completed, possibly early in 2003.

– Grace Karpa

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