Up until about May I was involved in my neighborhood association, that had come together to try to stop the upsurge in development in south-east Olympia. This part of Oly had been pretty rural up until recently, and a lot of long time residents had a hard time understanding why this muddy wet part of town was a good place for a few thousand more homes.

This fight though is a good example of the arguments surrounding I-933, balancing the rights of long time landowners to their rural setting, low volume traffic and property values, with the rights of developers to do what they do.

Earlier today the VP of the neighborhood association sent out a reminder for folks to donate to No on I-933 (to the credit of Dan Stonnington and other folks at the Community Protection Coalition, they were in contact with my neighborhood association early on). I’ll call her Neighbor A has been pretty vocal about I-933, specifically how it would prevent folks like her and her neighbors from stopping development from happening.

Neighbor B, also very active in the association, replied in contrast:

We need less government interference and more accountability to the people. Any and all government (and each person!) should be held accountable for it’s actions. Period.

…I am surprised that you aren’t concerned about the fact that plans are showing a road going thru your house in the future. I would think you would expect to be reimbursed by the government taking your home as they see fit without your intent to sell or input from you. You are campaigning, voting and contributing to the government not having to pay you fair market value when they decide to take your land for a more direct route to downtown. Where ‘they’ go to spend more of our tax dollars on stopping food and medical supplies from getting to our troops fighting for our freedom of speech, way of life and religion.

What does I-933 do for Washington property owners?

Yes On I-993 means that if government regulation damages the use or value of your land you are entitled to compensation for your loss.

How much will I-933 cost?

Nothing. If the government doesn’t damage someone’s property, it owes nothing. No damage, no cost. That’s fair.

Does I-933 eliminate zoning laws and environmental protections?

No. Only regulations applied to individual properties are addressed by I-933. Zoning doesn’t change and the environment is still protected.

My main contention is with the logic that she seems to be employing that “if the rules stay on the books, what is the harm?” The harm is that the rules aren’t enforced, they practically don’t exist.

She also seems to be confusing the concepteminentient domain with so called “takings.” If Neighbor A’s house was taken out to build a road, then under the Constitution of the United States and Washington, she’d be paid. If they downzoned her property from one house per one acre to one to five, there would be no payment (as it stands today). The fiscenarioerio iseminentient domain case, the second is so-called “takings.”

Anyway, I could spend a lot of time countering her logic, but rather, I just want to reflect on if we couldn’t reach someone whose home is being surrounded by new developments, who can we reach?

The only reason there is a halt in development in SE Olympia is because the city was able to enact a rule to put a temporary halt to development until they reconsider their overall rules. If all of those rules can be called into question when they obviously will lessen the commercial value of their properties, how can they be effective at all?