Letters: Property rights not infinite

There are 7 comments on the Monterey County Herald story from Nov 29, 2010, titled Letters: Property rights not infinite. In it, Monterey County Herald reports that:

In his defense of the September Ranch subdivision decision, John Caldwell makes a fundamental error regarding property rights .

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Monterey County Herald.

Snob

Salinas, CA

#1 Nov 29, 2010
These Maple Park people are nuts. Is there any other place in town other than rich white people who have this type of program? No. And I have bad news, the hospital was there long before your house. The hospital was built in a Church Brother field so when YOU started building your house around it or purchased it more recently you knew it was there. IT and the traffic should not be changing for you YOU should suck it up and know that's what you were getting in to. Snobs.
The Owl and the Pussycat

Salinas, CA

#2 Nov 29, 2010
Re: Bill Graham. The Fourth Ammendment reads, in part:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures....."

The two operative words being "secure" and "unreasonable". One might argue that in order to be secure in air travel, the search and seizures by TSA aren't unreasonable. Intrusive though the pat-downs are, I would agree with the arguement.
LuLu

Pacific Grove, CA

#3 Nov 29, 2010
LARRY UELK...

Why can't you Tea-Bags get that we don't hate Sarah Palin. We hate people like you who think she's intelligent, patriotic, a good mother and an asset to our country.

She is none of the above and if people like you would bother to educate yourselves and stop relying on the corporate shills at FOX to "learn ya", we could all enjoy the pretty, low class, money hoe, shallow, clever as a fox (pun intended) fake, family values (yuk-yuk), sadist from Alaska (population 700,000 - less than the city of San Francisco) and not freak-out that you actually think she would be fine as President. OMFG!!!

She, we can handle because we understand what she is. You don't and that's what is killing us and killing this once advanced and respected country.
Ray_Hyde

Sterling, VA

#6 Nov 30, 2010
Lorraine Surprenant is correct in pointing out that there is no constitutional right to subdivide ones property.

However, that is beside the point. The original Supreme court decision that made zoning legal did so only by overturning a lower court decision that found in favor of the landowners.

The concept of zoning was approved on the basis that it promoted the safety and welfare of citizens and was therefore not an intrusive extension of the police powers. In additions the court said it allowed for stability in planning. In both Euclid and Kelo, the Court ruled that local officials were entitled to a presumption of constitutionality that trumped the claims of property owners who believed their rights had been violated. However, not long after Euclid, the court overturned a Coneccticut zoning law on the premise that it violated due process.

Zoning officials have been quick to subvert their presumptively constitutional rights for many purposes not considered in the original case, and zoning abuse is not uncommon. However, it is one of the hardest issues to get to court because of the rule of exhaustion of administrative powers. By making the adminsitrative process endlessly entangling and expensive zoning officials effectively can deny a court hearing indefinitely.

The adverse consequences of Euclid include legal exclusion of undesirable groups, collusion between business and government to drive out and keep out competition, and land use restrictions based solely on subjective aesthetic standards, none of which wee expressly allowed under the ruling that made zoning constitutional.
Most egregious is the fact that the court expressly stated that zoning was acceptable because it allowed for long term planning. Yet many landowners with long term plans for their property have had those plans ripped up by sudden zoning changes, and other regulations designed to limit growth, not to promote the safety and security of the community.

What this amounts to is existing property owners enhancing the value and scarcity of their properties by taking control over but not paying for property external to their own.

Beyond whatever their contitutional rights to adequate police power, zoning officials have an ethical duty to protect the persons and property of ALL of their citizens. If there is an overriding community benefit that justifies reducing the value of the property of some citizens, then the winners ought to be willing to compensate the losers, such that everyone gains and no one loses.

Absent such compensation, any claims of community benefit are hollow promises and charades, which are nowhere protected by the constitution.
Argus

Salinas, CA

#7 Nov 30, 2010
There's an overriding community benefit to speed limits too, but we don't compensate the owners of fast cars for not being able to use their property to its full potential. Why should owners of real property expect to be compensated for reasonable restrictions that make our communities more livable for all of us - including themselves? Having rules is the only way that so many of us can live so close to each other without total chaos. Would you seriously think it was fine if someone in your residential neighborhood decided to maximize the value of their property by building a chemical plant there? Would you think they should be compensated for not building it?
ray_hyde

United States

#8 Dec 1, 2010
Don't think that is a good analogy. I don't think anyone is complaining about police powers that actually improve safety.

Assuming a zoning change creates a net social benefit, as claimed, the winners can easily compensate the losers and still be winners. The only reason not to is that their calculation of benefit is faulty. Requireing compensation means sharper pencils.

As for a zoning change that benefits everyone, that I have yet to see.

Consider a community of equal size lots. Half the homes are constructed and then a zoning change increases the setbacks. Some owners of irregular shape lots are now prohibited from building. The existing residents have gained a sign ificant benefit.

Why shouldn't they pay for it, and why would they not WANT to?
Argus

Salinas, CA

#9 Dec 1, 2010
So as long as regulations increase safety, impacted property owners shouldn't be compensated, but in all other cases they should? That's certainly a creative approach, but it doesn't sound very practical. If I apply for a permit to build a high-rise office building in a neighborhood zoned residential, they'd have to pay me to stop me from doing it, but if I apply for a permit to build a plant manufacturing rocket fuel in that same neighborhood, they might be able to get out of paying me by claiming that the residential zoning was for safety reasons?

Where is all the money supposed to come from to pay everyone to refrain from doing whatever they claim would make them the most possible money with their property? And where will the money come from to pay for all the litigation over how much money the owner of each parcel of land in the country would be making if they were only allowed to build a nuclear power plant or a pesticide factory on their residential lot?

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