Tuesday, August 28, 2007


The debate over the new rules so far has pitted some property owners concerned about their right to use their land against environmental advocates who say owners don’t have the right to send sediment downstream — a problem the rules are designed to fight.

City staff have prepared the new rules in response to a state law requiring larger municipalities to enforce buffers of at least 30 feet along streams.

--Streams form battle lines: Property owners, environmentalists face off over proposed development limits
by Mark Barrett | CITIZEN-TIMES.COM

I find it neverendingly fascinating that every attempt to re-balance the zoning laws to protect existing property owners from negative effects caused by rapid development is met with the retort that this is a violation of "property rights." Is there no end to the irony that both sides of this issue believe it is primarily Their rights that are being infringed by the Other. Reminds me of a couple arguing over who was angry first, as if that is the ultimate litmus test for a valid issue.

Zoning came along to provide guidance for protection of individual property rights. It is a developer's protection as well as a set of regulations that require attention. It is the civic right of the citizenry to ask for stricter zoning, just as it is the right of the landowner (private, public, or business) to ask for lesser zoning. Civic process is the place these rights are heard and balanced.

Word that Rolling Meadows may impose a fee of as much as $5,000 on teardowns has prompted a group representing Northwest suburban real estate agents to prepare to fight what it dubs a "teardown tax."

City officials next month plan to discuss imposing a $1,500 fee for homes that are completely demolished to make way for larger homes. Leaders say replacing the city's post-World War II homes can change the character of the neighborhood.

A city committee looking at maintaining affordable housing in Rolling Meadows has suggested increasing the proposed fee to $5,000.

And the back and forth:
Jeff Metzger, government affairs director for the Realtor Association of Northwest Chicagoland, said the fee amounts to a tax. He questions how setting a fee would encourage affordable housing.

"We think property owners should have the right to do whatever they want with their property," Metzger said.

A person who razes a home to build a new one might not necessarily be building a larger one, he added.

Metzger said a newer home that sells for more on the market also improves the community and adds property taxes to the city's coffers.

City officials pushing for the fee, which will be formally discussed by aldermen next month, disagree.

"The increase in property values is precisely the phenomenon that keeps middle-class professionals and young families from being able to buy a home," said a report from the city's affordable housing committee.

--Realtors oppose teardown fee plan
By Ames Boykin | Chicago Daily Herald - Chicago, IL, USA

It all sounds mighty familiar. But what if it is true? What if we all have the same rights to protect or use our property as we see fit as long as it is legal. Where are the lines to be drawn?

If you can block my view, can I ruin yours in return?

If you can cut down all your trees, what about my shade?

If your runoff floods my property, will you clean it up?

I kinda think this line of reasoning is fraught with problems. Since we do not live in a vacuum, how's about we tackle these things civilly. Feigning shock that the other point of view has a point of view is troublesome to Fallonia.

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