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Issue Position: Private Property Rights

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

Issue: The United States and Washington State Constitutions protect against the taking of private property without just compensation, yet unconstitutional takings still occur in Washington State.

Discussion: In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court case Kelo v. City of New London highlighted the impacts associated with the misuse of eminent domain and led to a national public outcry against the taking of private property.

There are two forms of takings private property owners must be aware of. The first are physical takings. Physical takings can include the taking of land without compensation, the confiscation of property, and barring access to property.

The second are regulatory takings. Regulatory takings include laws that illegally limit the use of property or through the application of laws limit the economically viable uses of property. There are also two (2) sub-categories of takings, permanent and temporary. Both physical and regulatory takings can be either permanent or temporary in nature, but remain takings nonetheless.

In Washington State, regulatory takings routinely occur without much fan fare and little argument. The critical areas requirements of the Growth Management Act have allowed government entities to take private property for the benefit of the public without compensation in the form of buffers, setbacks and open space mandates.

Solutions: If appointed as the 15th District Representative, I will work to increase private property rights protection by establishing provisions within the GMA which requires governmental agencies to either compensate landowners for the public benefit they are required to provide or issue a waiver from the requirements. In addition, I would carefully review proposed legislation to identify instances in which private property takings could occur.

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