Oregon's Landmark Land Use Measure

A dramatic turnaround for property rights in the state with one of the most restrictive land use rules in the nation.
November 28, 2004, 1pm PST | Abhijeet Chavan | @legalaidtech
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Under a ballot measure approved on Nov. 2, property owners who can prove that environmental or zoning rules have hurt their investments can force the government to compensate them for the losses - or get an exemption from the rules.

"Whatever the benefits of Oregon's land-use rules, [said Ross Day, a Portland lawyer for the conservative group Oregonians in Action] 'the people paying the cost are property owners.'

'If Enron does something like this, people call it theft,' he said. 'If Oregon does it, they call it land-use planning.'"

"The success of the ballot measure has led advocates of planning to do some soul searching...some pro-planning forces suggest setting high taxes on the profits on newly developable land. If, instead, the government grants exemptions to land-use rules, many property owners might want to sell for the ready profit.

Thanks to Abhijeet Chavan

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Published on Friday, November 26, 2004 in The New York Times

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