Measure D won’t solve our land-use problem |

Measure D won’t solve our land-use problem

Measure D, the property rights initiative that will appear on the November ballot, is the wrong solution to bad management.

We say bad management because the more than 5,000 registered Nevada County voters who signed the initiative have essentially said so. While Measure D isn’t the answer, something needs to be done about a board of supervisors that has promoted its own agenda at the apparent expense of many property owners.

And to dismiss the thousands who signed the initiative as “developers,” or “out-of-area-land-rapers” is a mistake that may reveal itself on election day.

John Lorini, a former member of the county Planning Commission, summarized the Measure D debate best in a letter to The Union last July:

“The movement for an initiative got started for very understandable reasons,” he wrote. “The Board of Supervisors in recent years has been dominated by a group who have largely ignored a sizeable segment of the population while promoting its own ideas about how the county should develop (or not develop). Those who have been ignored got hopping mad, and put on a major push to create the initiative. The majority on the Board of Supervisors have largely brought this upon themselves.”

If it passes, however, Measure D will certainly face legal challenges that could cost taxpayers lots of money, simply to discover it is flawed. Many courts have already upheld a municipality’s right to manage land use. In fact, the the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in a case challenging its authority to tie up private land use pending years of environmental review.

But more important, the measure could cripple the county’s ability to make good land-use decisions. Emphasis on the term, “good.” If county residents believe their elected officials have not been making good land-use decisions, they’ll likely say so in November, when two seats for the Board of Supervisors will appear on the same ballot as Measure D.

We only hope that the five members who eventually serve on the Nevada County Board of Supervisors listen to the message Measure D was intended to deliver: Respect for the rights of private property owners must be at the forefront of any land use decision.

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