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Property initiative flawed

I read with interest recent submissions detailing the text of the Property Owners Compensation Initiative. Part of the text states that “this process applies to proposed projects when regulatory actions or determinations by the County restrict existing use or utility, in whole or part, of the affected parcel.”

The following example is my understanding of this passage. If a feed store, currently existing in a residential area, were destroyed by fire, and the county were to deny them a permit to rebuild, then the property owner would be eligible for compensation for the difference in the value of the property. Sounds fair. No problem here.

I am very concerned with the text that reads: “A property owner seeking reimbursement pursuant to this initiative shall first seek beneficial best use of the property. This best use must be denied by the Board of Supervisors prior to filing a claim.” Who determines “best use”? I called the County Counsel’s office to see if I could get clarification on the meaning of this passage and was told that they don’t know what it means. This passage leaves the determination of best use open to anyone’s interpretation. The initiative should have included the phrase “under existing zoning.” Was this an oversight, or by design?



Hank Starr was correct in his column that developers could hold the county hostage over approval of their development plans. This could either bankrupt the county or force us to accept any type of development forced on us. At the very least, we taxpayers would have to foot the bill to defend expensive lawsuits from deep-pocket developers who buy cheap land on speculation with the hope of having it rezoned for development. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could sue for reimbursement for the money I’ve lost in speculative investments in the stock market?

If we need such an initiative to protect the hardworking landowners of Nevada County, then the current wording of the initiative should be scrapped. I don’t know who is trying to sneak this past us as a protection, but it will have the opposite effect.




Ron Ramsey

Grass Valley


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