Property value initiative submitted to county – again |

Property value initiative submitted to county – again

A third revision of a plan to reimburse property owners when Nevada County government action devalues their land was submitted Thursday.

The Citizens for Fair and Balanced Land Use had submitted a revised version of the proposed ballot initiative to the county elections office twice before. County Counsel Charles McKee returned the last version of the proposed initiative Dec. 31, saying the proposal was unclear on several points.

“I’ve seen you guys in here before,” County Clerk-Recorder Lorraine Jewett-Burdick quipped when proponents returned with their new, improved initiative.

“Third time’s the charm,” said Russell Steele, chairman of the coordinating committee of Citizens for Fair and Balanced Land-Use.

Steele said the group proposed the initiative because lawsuits are so expensive and time consuming that most landowners endure the loss of their property or use of it during the process anyway.

“Nevada County (the “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 value of an owner’s parcel,” the proposed initiative reads.

Last fall, the California Association of Business, Property and Resource Owners first submitted an initiative that asked that Nevada County property owners be compensated if their land is devalued due to county regulations.

The group consulted with local attorney Gregg Lien to reword the initiative they hope to put on the November ballot. The group also consulted with Sacramento-area land use and initiative attorneys, but declined to name them at the attorneys’ request, Steele said.

McKee said in December the proposed initiative did not state clearly whether aggrieved landowners would be required to present a claim to the county before going to court, or whether the property owner may go directly to court to seek payment for lost land use. Property owners would have to seek redress from the Board of Supervisors before going to court, Steele said.

McKee must return a ballot title and summary to Jewett-Burdick’s office by 5 p.m., Feb. 15.

Proponents must gather signatures of 10 percent of the county’s total number of votes cast in the November 1998 gubernatorial election – or 3,896 signatures – within 180 days of the county counsel’s preparation of a ballot title and summary to get the measure on the general election ballot.

If the group collects 7,792 signatures – 20 percent of the county’s total number cast in the November 1998 gubernatorial election – the Board of Supervisors is required to schedule a special election for the initiative.

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