This Just In Regarding the Critical Areas Ordinance

Four years ago the Critical Areas Ordinance was passed here in King County.  The ordinance required property owners of acreage in rural King County to leave 35% of their property untouched as a buffer, for purposes of preserving and protecting wetlands, stormwater and the environment in general.  The effect of this ordinance has been that in some cases owners have seen their property values plummet, or have been unable to utilize their property in the manner that they had originally intended.

It was just announced today that the State Court of Appeals has overturned this ordinance.  Apparently, it turns out that government taking of land is unconstitutional...though you would think that county officials would know that small detail.  If King County wanted to preserve rural land and protect it from development, then perhaps it should have offered to purchase protected portions of land from the property owners.

It'll be interesting to see if there will be lawsuits against the property for lost property values, permit fees, etc.  Rural property owners have won this 4-year battle at last.


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Comment balloon 1 commentLisa Bosques • July 07 2008 03:03PM


Lisa, No law suits to speak of so far but there are some upset property owners , after a new shore land protection ordinance was past, which requires great set backs form the water, so individuals have made the argument that if the "Government" says you can't use your land the way you want that is a public taking and therefore requires the State to compensate you for the loss (or taking).

The answers are yet to be seen, but I think if it were looked at the way you describe it , there is some truth in this taking as also being unconstitutional. Steve

Posted by Steve Loynd, 800-926-5653, White Mountains NH ( Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., ) about 11 years ago

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