How disastrously ill-conceived is I-933, the “pay or waive” initiative that seeks to fatten developers by gutting Washington’s land use regulations? Well for example, it could end up costing Spokane County its largest employer:
A stream of military and aviation officials lined up last week to urge Spokane County to adopt regulations that would prevent additional residential development around Fairchild Air Force Base and Spokane International Airport.
Residential development can encroach upon airfields, both in noise complaints from homeowners and with safety issues, when people are living near the area where plane crashes are most likely to occur. Proponents of Fairchild cite “encroachment” as the No. 1 reason why air force bases nationwide get shut down during periodic federal evaluations.
But if I-933 passes, property owners surrounding Fairchild could file claims demanding the county either waive any regulations passed since 1996, or pay property owners for their lost value. This shows up I-933 for what it really is: legalized extortion on a massive scale. Spokane County taxpayers would have to choose between forking over hundreds of millions of dollars, or risk losing 5,500 jobs and the $1.2 billion Fairchild annually pumps into the local economy.
According to Ed Neunherz, a retired air force officer and ex-chairman of the Spokane Regional Chamber Commerce’s armed services committee: “If encroachment is allowed to continue around Fairchild Air Force Base, the base will be closed and our region’s largest employer will go away.”
That’s the conclusion of military and civilian officials nationwide — residential encroachment on military bases leads to almost certain closure. And yet Rep. Cathy McMorris, who the Spokesman-Review congratulated for adding “a strong and helpful voice in protecting Fairchild through the last round of base closures,” has officially
Once again McMorris has embraced inflammatory right-wing rhetoric over sound government policy, and you’d think the Seattle Times and the S-R, which both oppose I-933, might hold her accountable. Eh… apparently not.
I’ve just been forwarded a piece from todays Whidbey New Times on this exact topic:
Since Whidbey Island Naval Air Station was placed on a base closure list in 1991, Oak Harbor and Island County officials have enacted a range of planning measures to protect the base and its long-term viability.
But such past and future planning efforts could be undermined by Initiative 933, the sweeping property rights initiative that’s on the ballot next week.
“It would mean turning back the planning clock, and in my mind, we’ve done some really good planning,” Oak Harbor Mayor Patty Cohen said.
It’s an interesting article that gives a real-world example of the type of land-use restrictions we’re talking about, and how they potentially impact both the property owner and the community at large.