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E-M:/ MI ALERT on ANTI-SMART GROWTH "Takings" Bill
- Subject: E-M:/ MI ALERT on ANTI-SMART GROWTH "Takings" Bill
- From: "DAVID ROSS" <ROSS@nwf.org>
- Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 11:19:08 -0400
- List-Name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-To: "DAVID ROSS" <ROSS@nwf.org>
Enviro-Mich message from "DAVID ROSS" <ROSS@nwf.org>
This has been updated with additional Michigan specific information since the last alert I sent on this:
>>> Glenn Sugameli 09/07/00 02:25PM >>>
NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION
SMART GROWTH & WILDLIFE ALERT
CONTACT: GLENN SUGAMELI 202-797-6865 email@example.com
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED: PLEASE CONTACT Sen. Spencer Abraham [R-MI] (Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121) who is critical to the fate of a developer-drafted federal "takings"/"property rights" bill that is designed to cripple local smart growth, zoning, and planning. On Sept. 14th, the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to mark-up (vote on) the House passed bill, H.R. 2372, The Private Property Rights Implementation Act.
Sen. Abraham is a key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In the last Congress, he voted for H.R. 1534 in Committee, as part of a 10-to-8 party line vote, and voted in favor of an unsuccessful attempt to break a bi-partisan filibuster that killed the bill (S. 2271). However, he expressed federalism concerns that the Constitution prohibited the bill's provisions that would allow "takings" claims against local governments to skip state courts, and he is not a cosponsor of this year's companion Senate bill, S. 1028, Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch's [R-UT] Citizens Access to Justice Act.
WHAT'S WRONG WITH H.R. 2372:
The developers' organization that originally wrote the bill finally admitted that: "This bill will be a hammer to the head of these [state and local] bureaucracies," declared Jerry Howard, the chief lobbyist for the National Association of Home Builders. National Journal's CongressDailyAM (March 14, 2000). Big developers would use premature, costly federal litigation as a hammer to coerce local communities into approving projects that will harm nearby homeowners and the environment.
>> It would allow developers to bypass local zoning procedures and state courts and file premature federal lawsuits which unjustifiably claim that local land use decisions amount to "takings" of private property without just compensation. To avoid lawsuits, small towns, counties and cities would be forced to design and approve harmful projects for developers.
>>The bill would undermine hundreds of popular local initiatives that protect everyone by limiting and controlling growth, without "taking" any property rights. For example, state courts have rejected "takings" challenges to smart growth limits and to controls on mining, factories, liquor stores and other harmful activities in residential neighborhoods.
FOR GENERAL INFO SEE ATTACHMENTS:
MICHIGAN SPECIFIC INFO:
PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS IMPLEMENTATION ACT OF 2000 (House of Representatives - March 16, 2000)
Roll Call No. 55
Michigan Delgation: Voting against final passage: Republican Ehlers, and Democrats Stupak, Barcia, Stabenow, Kildee, Bonior, Levin, Rivers, Conyers, Kilpatrick and Dingell
Voting for: Republicans Hoekstra, Camp, Upton, Smith and Knollenberg
Two Detroit Free Press Editorials
DETROIT FREE PRESS
Bill would give developers too big an
March 7, 2000
It isn't enough that Lansing is in the business of
subverting local control these days; now Congress
is getting into the act. This week the House
Judiciary Committee is scheduled to take up a
beast of a bill that purports to protect property
rights but really strips ordinary people and small
communities of their ability to control their own
growth and future.
Call it the Developers' Wildest Dreams Act, and
you get some idea of the flavor of it. The bill
would make a federal case -- literally -- out of
every planning and zoning dispute. Forget the local
appeal process; skip the state courts. If HR2372
passes, every business owner or developer with a
gripe gets to push local governments straight into
an expensive federal court fight.
Why is this so bad? Because local hearings are
where ordinary people get to put in their two
cents' worth about decisions that affect their
property, safety, environment and quality of life.
Sending every land use dispute into a distant
federal court means only those who can afford
lawyers are heard.
Most people recognize that land ownership comes
with reasonable restrictions. Zoning ensures that
there won't be a topless bar or an adult video
store next door to a school or church, or a landfill
in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
Communities adopt plans to balance growth and
green space, the rights of one landowner against
the rights of a community of owners.
The so-called property rights bill would blow all
that away. You don't have to look very far to see
what its impact would be in metro Detroit. The
most important land use decisions are made on the
urban fringe, as small towns and townships try to
cope with sprawl. Those are the very communities
that can least afford a federal court fight and
would feel most pressured to roll over for every
developer who challenged them.
Indeed, that's what the "property rights" bill is all
about. It's the classic case of special interests
writing their own bill and greasing its way through
Congress over the objections of the real people it
All content © copyright 2000 Detroit Free Press and may not be republished without permission.
Detroit Free Press, Editorial, Takings Mistake: Congress shouldn't undermine local control (Feb. 15, 2000)
Congress shouldn't undermine local
February 15, 2000
In Washington, the House Judiciary Committee
today is scheduled to consider one of the infamous
"takings" bills that pretend to protect property
rights. The bill, HR2372, is in fact an all-out
assault on local control and local taxpayers.
The bill would do two bad things: It would allow
developers, builders or landowners to go quickly
into federal court when they didn't like a decision
by a planning board or other local government
body. And it would encourage a spate of "takings"
claims from people who argue their property
values are unfairly reduced if they must follow land
use or environmental rules.
The bill is really designed to scare local
governments into rolling over anytime their land
use plans or efforts to protect wetlands or open
space are challenged. It also advances the idea
that taxpayers should pay industry or landowners
for complying with laws to protect the public
interest -- a proposition courts have repeatedly
Just as townships in Michigan and elsewhere are
becoming more sophisticated about working with
responsible and creative developers to preserve
green space, floodplains and other natural
features, the federal bill would knock the pins out
from under them, and hand power over to the
The bill, written by a home builders group and
sponsored by Florida Republican Charles
Canady, is a takings bill, all right. It takes away
local control, environmental protection and any
hope of sensible land use planning. The committee
would do well to take it off the table and let local
communities determine their own character and
Rep. James BARCIA, D-5th-MI, who voted for a similar bill (HR 1534) in the last Congress, went to the House Floor and removed his name as a cosponsor of this year's bill, HR 2372, and later voted against it on the Floor.
Last Congress, Rep. Vern Ehlers R-3rd-MI was one of only 30 Republicans to vote against HR 1534 and he voted against H.R. 2372 this year.
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. D-14th, the senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Comm., once again helped lead the fight against the bill
For the vote, text of the bill and other info on H.R. 2372, Rep. Charles Canady's [R-FL] "Private Property Rights Implementation Act" and the companion Senate bill, Sen. Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch's [R-UT] S. 1028, the Citizens Access to Justice Act, see THOMAS:
For general background info see: http://www.nwf.org/nwf/takings/
National Wildlife Federation's letter on HR 2372
Please send me any feedback or media coverage.
Glenn P. Sugameli
National Wildlife Federation
1400 16th Street, N.W., Suite 501
Washington, D.C. 20036-2266
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