Local Group Hooks Up Nationally
Independent Ground, Private Property Rights Group, the local land rights group, informally termed the "Round-up Group" because of famous first meetings in the Round-up Café in Sierraville, has joined with similar local groups in a national organization.
The Citizen’s Alliance for Property Rights (HERE ) is a national organization with 9 chapters in Washington and 2 in California. It seeks to protect private property rights from erosion by federal and local governments. It’s a full time battle, since most property rights are stolen in the form of "ordinances" forced on local governments by state and federal authorities.
The group had originally been brought together by the actions of a local "environmental" group. Those actions, most people felt, did nothing to protect the environment, and only created yet more delay, expense, and red tape for local people doing small projects. It was clearly having a chilling effect on even the most beneficial land use changes, "beneficial" meaning good for the people, good for the environment.
While that was the group’s original function, after a few meetings the group had outgrown two venues, and its horizon was greater, too. It became clear that the local "enviro" group was part of a trend of government and other intrusion into what should be the reasonable use of land. The Constitution of the United States, it was pointed out, has several provisions for protecting land ownership. Well meaning but ignorant legislation intended to protect the rights of everyone has, because of a "one size fits all" idea of fairness, lead to the rights of individual property owners being trampled. Increasingly, land ownership carries such liability that only the rich are allowed to own land. CAPR, at the local and national level, intends to stop that.
CAPR was successful last year in stopping a grading ordinance that stripped the property rights from 65% of rural property in Washington State. King County adopted a "Clearing and Grading Critical Areas Ordinance" under order from the state even as California is forcing a "landscape ordinance" on Sierra County. The group sued on the basis that such restrictive ordinances force rural land owners to support too much of the cost of environmental benefits which are accrued elsewhere. It was like an extra tax landowners were paying so people elsewhere would have clean air and water. Read about the lawsuit HERE There are similar challenges in Sierra and Plumas Counties. The local group will be meeting again soon; the Prospect will post that date when we know it.
The Washington State law was part of an attempt by the legislature to protect rural lands and encourage rural people to remain rural. It encouraged appropriate rural jobs and officially recognized the state’s rural areas as a cultural and environmental treasure. The lawsuit is a result of the best intentions going astray, protecting the rural lands so well that rural people can’t afford to live in them.
There are similar challenges in Sierra and Plumas Counties.
The local group will be meeting again soon; the Prospect will post that date when we know it.