Land use goes back to voters

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

STATEWIDE Depending on whom you ask, Measure 49 on November’s ballot will fix Measure 37 or outright repeal the measure

The Yes on 49 campaign launched in July with the support of four Oregon governors and a few prominent business leaders such as NW Natural’s Dick Reiten. It’s led by broad-based coalition of Oregon leaders and organizations including 1000 Friends of Oregon, the land-use watchdog group founded in 1975.

A statewide telephone survey in March 2007 found that 49% of registered voters felt Measure 37 had significant flaws and should be fixed, while 19% thought it should be left alone and another 20% thought it should be repealed. Just 12% had no opinion.

Measure 37, passed by voters in 2004, allows property owners to either proceed with development impeded by land-use regulations or receive compensation for the loss.

Measure 49 sets out to modify Measure 37 by establishing a “fast track” for claimants to build up to three homes on their property, and promises four to 10 homes on claims not on prime farm or forest land. It throws out all industrial and commercial claims, as well as plans for subdivisions.

David Hunnicutt, president of Oregonians in Action, the property rights group that wrote Measure 37, says Measure 49 was drafted behind closed doors with no public review. “They had their votes lined up and they just wanted to get it out of the capitol building as fast as they could.”

But Tom Kelly, president of Neil Kelly & Co., counters: “It’s pretty well accepted by everybody that Measure 37 was poorly written.” While he wishes the Legislature had found a bipartisan solution, Kelly is firmly in the pro-49 camp.                           

BRANDON SAWYER


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