This Land Is Mine

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Fox News reports:

Residents of King County, Wash., will only be able to build on 10 percent of their land, according to a new law being considered by the county government, which, if enacted, will be the most restrictive land use law in the nation.

Curiously, the story is headlined "Private Property May Become Preserved." I know what they were trying to say, but that really isn't the clearest way to express it…

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  1. Does anyone is Seattle still own enough land to build something new on?

    SnoCo, anyone?

  2. I feel more sympathy for the Indians all the time.
    We are all going to be living on reservations within the next couple of decades.

  3. War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.
    Zoning laws protect property rights.

  4. As if I needed another reason to be glad I live in Snohomoish County.

  5. Sorry, but Haliburton… I mean the government… really owns your land. All of you homeowners are really just the suckers who are leasing it from us.

  6. I ran the numbers, and Fox either doesn’t know what it’s talking about (which is common when the mainstream press writes about zoning), or is deliberately whipping up hysteria (which is common with Fox).

    I know you all are objecting on principle, but the Fox term “most restrictive law in the nation” makes the situation sound much worse than it is. You can basically build a subdivision of 1/2 acre lots, with each one having 100 feet of frontage on a 40 wide road, with a 15′ strip of trees along each sideline of each lot (which creates a 30′ buffer with the next guy’s trees), and have a 30×40′ house (huge footprint, over 2300 gross floor area with two stories, not counting attic and basement) with a 30 foot front yard, 15 foot sideyard (plus the wooded strips, for 60 feet between your wall the next house, half of which is wooded), and a 40 foot back yard (with 100′ of woods behind you). Or reconfigure with different shaped lots, but the same density.

    Basically, this is suburban residential zoning. Most undeveloped areas in the suburbs already have zoning similar to this. You’re all just panicking because of the metric they use.

  7. “Sorry, but Haliburton… I mean the government… really owns your land. All of you homeowners are really just the suckers who are leasing it from us.”

    I’ve been making that argument since I was about 15 and started realizing what property taxes really meant.

    Sure you own it… until we decide otherwise.

  8. joe, these posters have finally come to your side and now you don’t like it?

  9. Sounds like this screws over the rural folks that own undeveloped property to make urban environmentalists feel good. If ecology is so important, why not make the city dwellers “restore” 65% of their property to the “natural”– whatever that is– state as well?

  10. Gee, Joe, when you put it that way, it doesn’t sound as bad. In fact, it sounds almost reasonable. But I’m still against it on principal. Sorry.

  11. Lathrop,
    About 30 years ago Oregon sacrificed owners of undeveloped land to satisfy urban environmentalists with statewide land use planning. That part of the country must be especially susceptible to that sort of thing.

    I love how people use the word “natural”, too. It has to be about the most meaningless word ever. Natural means of nature and nature means the material world. What isn’t natural?

  12. This is one of the local governments efforts to “save the salmon”. The feds have been threatening everyone in the PacNW for years over development–a few years ago they rejected a Washington State proposal to improve the I-5 hiway because it “promotes growth”. When the salmon czar says jump everyone around here says “how high?”. Total, ESA driven nonsense.

    However, growth in the region sucks (20% population increase over 15 years), and the ESA keeps me in business. So in the larger scheme of things handing over local government control to federal resource management agencies does have it’s upside.

    See how easily my libertarian principals get pushed aside when there’s something in it for me?

  13. Gee, Joe, when you put it that way, it doesn’t sound as bad.

    Maybe, until you realize that half an acre (on a square plot) is 147 feet on a side. Not what I’d call “large” compared to the figures.

    The problem is that we have to think of this bullshit at all before developing on our own land. You can argue until the end of time about the semantics of freedom, but one thing that is certain is that in the U.S. the ownership of land – and the sole stewardship thereof – was a fundamental characteristic of “freedom” throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. What happened in the 20th century to justify a regression back towards serfdom to the state? Fuck the state, and fuck the endangered yellowtail swallow or whatever you’re trying to save. You will not miss it.

  14. “joe, these posters have finally come to your side and now you don’t like it?”

    Truth first, ideology second. Garbage in, garbage. One thing I’ve learned is that these discussions need to be carried out based on the facts. Establish those, then you can have a useful conversation.

    trainwreck, you’re saying that greater Portland and greater Seattle haven’t been doing well over the past 15 years? Hasn’t this, in fact, been the period of their rise to prominence on the national and international cultural and economic scenes?

  15. the period of their rise to prominence on the national and international cultural and economic scenes?

    I think you overestimate Starbucks and grunge.

  16. It is not possible to overestimate grunge.

    There’s something about it that leaves you incapable of overestimation.

  17. trainwreck,

    For many here (I happily decline), “what’s in it for me?” is a mantra in perfect keeping with libertarianism.

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