There’s every indication that Measure 37 is going back to the voters of Oregon this November. Here’s the Oregonian:
Democratic legislators decided Thursday that they’ll ask Oregon voters to dramatically scale back rural development under Measure 37, rather than rewriting the property rights law themselves.
The full Legislature still has to approve the decision from the Land Use Fairness Committee. But the deck is stacked, with Democrats controlling both the House and the Senate. And sending a ballot measure back to voters this fall would give lawmakers political cover.
“We’re giving the voters the opportunity to say, ‘Yes, this is what we meant,’ or ‘No, it wasn’t,’ ” said Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, co-chairman of the committee.
Of course, as Prozanski well knows, in two recentpolls, and in numerous wrenching stories, Oregon’s voters have made clear their feelings about the measure: it’s not what they meant. Now it looks like the majority will have a chance to undo some of the harm of Measure 37 by voting on a more reasonable version of the law. I’ll provide details here as they become clear.
In related news, Arizona’s new pay-or-waive law (which was modeled on Oregon’s Measure 37), is beginning to cause problems…
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The city of Tucson is grappling with an unusual zoning problem. The University of Arizona’s huge student population is spawning “minidorms” that are appearing around residential neighborhoods. So the city council wants to tweak some laws to provide for relief for residents — perhaps a historic district or limitations on where and how new “minidorm” developments occur.
Problem is, a handful of property owners stand to make a bundle off the sort of development that the neighborhoods object to. So they’re claiming that a re-zone flies in the face of Arizona’s new pay-or-waive law, Proposition 207. And they’re right.
Under Proposition 207, there’s no reason to think that the Tucson city council can change zoning. At least not without doling out cash payments to property owners who claim they’ve been harmed by the change.
I think the Tucson case is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, Arizona is the only state to pass a pay-or-waive law since Oregon. And even though the new law has only been on the books for a few months, it’s already causing problems. More to the point, the reason 207 is causing problems is because the city is trying to deal with a new problem, something unanticipated that the existing laws don’t cover.
Dealing with the unexpected is precisely why we need land-use laws with democratic governance. Things change. Old problems get fixed, and then new problems arise. New technologies or economies change the way we live and think — and we need flexibility to sort out new problems. But pay-or-waive is a straightjacket: Proposition 207 has put Arizona in a time capsule labeled 2006. And especially in a fast growing place, the rules of 2006 will be ill equipped to grapple with the issues of 2010 or 2020 or 2050.