Initiative 933: A Disaster in the Making

Report | October 1, 2006 | By John Burbank

Executive Summary

Our legal system protects private property rights through the state constitution, state statutes, law enforcement, and the courts. The legal system also helps ensure the value of property through environmental laws and land use and zoning regulations. Initiative 933 undermines these foundations for property ownership and individual and mutual prosperity by creating financial incentives for self-selected developers, corporations, and individuals to ignore land use law and regulations or get paid to  abide by these regulations.

The public, through our governments, would have to pay these property owners to gain their adherence to our statutes and regulations. If Initiative 933 is passed, the bill to maintain current environmental protection regulations will run into the billions of dollars. These dollars could go to public education, environmental recovery, pollution reduction, transportation infrastructure, or health coverage. Instead, they will be transferred to out-of-state and in-state developers, corporations and individuals.

If Initiative 933 passes and the public decides it cannot afford to pay the complainants to abide by our regulations and statutes, then land use regulations will be waived for this small group of property owners.  As a result our efforts to clean up Puget Sound, preserve agricultural land, and even enforce family-friendly zoning in urban areas will be stymied and compromised.

Property owners who claim waivers under Initiative 933 will be exempted from the costs of environmental damage that their own activities and management of their properties may cause on these properties and on other private and public lands. The cost of this damage to our land, our waters, and our resources will be borne by the public.


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