Here's Gary Edwards, candidate for Thurston County Commission, talking about his vision for land use management:
I am certainly not in favor of taking through regulatory action. So, if we need to take, we need to compensate.
On the other hand:
You want to be able to do what you want with your land. But at the same time, landowners should not be able to destroy things for the people around them. It shouldn't be a free ticket to do whatever you want.The point of view that Edwards articulates here is an aggressive and far-right approach to land use management that would not only throw growth management into chaos, but was soundly rejected by Thurston County voters ten years ago.
What he's talking about is called "regulatory takings," which is a strictly legal term that has been hijacked by the right. They've started using the term to describe any sort of local land use rule that prevents a landowner from realizing an economic gain from their land.
County is stopping you from building 100 homes on your 10 acres? That's a taking.
City stops you from opening a convenience store? That's a taking.
Basically, and restriction that keeps the landowner from making any money from their property would be described as a taking.
You can see how cities and governments would just give up on trying to preserve natural resources and the livability of our communities than try to enforce now expensive rules against landowners.
Back in 2006 a coalition of right-leaning organizations came to Washington with Initiative 933. This initiative would have forced local governments to pay landowners anytime a local zoning or land use law conflicted with their interests. If the government couldn't pay, the landowner was free to do what they wanted.
What happened that year was that 64 percent of Thurston County voters rejected the initiative that was based on Gary Edward's bad idea of land use management. That was higher than the 58 percent who voted it down statewide.
Even in Oregon (where the idea to give developers a free ride started with a similar initiative a few years earlier) the idea was turned back in 2007. The people there saw how bad the idea really was, allowing development where it wasn't appropriate and where the natural resources simply couldn't support it.
So, what Edwards is describing is really an extreme, and already rejected, idea for how Thurston County should protect communities and natural resources. Giving landowners free reign by holding the county hostage anytime they disagree is a terrible idea.