Two sides duke it out at Measure D debate
Measure D backers argued Thursday the initiative will provide just compensation for property owners when the value of their land is reduced by over-regulation from Nevada County.
Opponents contended the controversial initiative on the November ballot will clog the courts, bankrupt the county, and lead to unchecked development and sprawl.
The debate was at Center for the Arts in Grass Valley.
Speaking in support of Measure D was Ben Nowland, steering committee member of Citizens for Fair and Balanced Land-use; and Ralph Migliozzi, trustee and president of First Choice Financial, a mortgage company in Grass Valley.
Speaking against the initiative was county Supervisor Peter Van Zant and former Supervisor Melodie Lane Wilson.
Nowland said Measure D is a matter of personal freedom and respect for the U.S. Constitution.
“We happen to believe that the county has been taking private property for public uses, which is in opposition to the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” Nowland said.
The most important right afforded by the Constitution, Nowland said, is the right to hold and use property.
“If private property is taken for public use, there must be compensation,” he said.
Van Zant said Measure D sounds inviting.
“It appears to offer property owners the right to do whatever they want on their property or they will be compensated by the county,” he said.
But in reality, Van Zant said, the measure is a heavy-handed scheme to force the county into lowering its development standards under threat of litigation.
Measure D would pay developers, but not compensate neighbors who suffer a loss of property values from a nearby project, such as a mini-mart at the end of a street, Van Zant said.
Measure D is a blank check made out to land speculators and signed by Nevada County taxpayers, Van Zant said.
Nowland said Measure D would encourage good land-use planning by taking into account environmental and economic impacts of development.
Nowland and Migliozzi said Van Zant’s claims that Measure D would allow developers to run rough shod and build mini-marts on every corner are ridiculous.
Van Zant said he keeps hearing over and over again that Measure D will make the county pay. But how much will it cost, he asked.
“If you don’t take private property for public use, it won’t cost the county a dime,” Nowland answered.
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