Franklin Perez

Libertarian Party of Seminole County, Florida
Seminole County Commission Candidate
District 5

*** SHALL VOTE TO PROTECT PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS ***

Seminole County Commission Candidate
District 5

*** SHALL VOTE TO PROTECT PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS AND PROTECT PROPERTY OWNERS FROM LOCALLY UNDESIRABLE LAND USES ***

E-mail: FranklinPerez@egroups.com

Open Discussion Group: http://www.egroups.com/group/FranklinPerez


PRIVATE PROPERTY AND LAND USE ISSUES

I am a firm believer in private property rights, therefore it is my position that current zoning laws do not adequately protect people's private property rights. Zoning has turned into a nightmare where arbitrary controls are placed on what individual property owners may do with their land.[1] This is not right.

Current zoning laws are put in place to protect property owners from locally undesirable land uses, but each voter should ask the following questions: Should land use rules be written by government bureaucrats or by local neighborhoods? Who would you rather trust with the power to establish land use regulations for your neighborhood from locally undesirable land uses: five county commissioners or your own neighbors?

Right now, zoning laws do not adequately protect neighborhoods from locally undesirable land uses. Zoning laws can and often are changed by government even if everyone in the neighborhood objects.

But, there is a solution to this mess that preserves private property rights & protects neighborhoods from locally undesirable land uses: Let local neighborhoods set land use regulations through the use of private deed restrictions (i.e., restrictive covenants). These restrictive covenants would empower local neighborhoods and give homeowners security from arbitrary changes set by the whims of five county commissioners.[2]


SPECIFIC PROPOSALS TO PROTECT PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS AND PROTECT PROPERTY OWNERS FROM LOCALLY UNDESIRABLE LAND USES

I think that a good proposal to fix the current problem of abrogation of private property rights and locally undesirable land uses would be to offer the people who want a zoning freeze the chance to have one. The plan I'm favoring would be one that increases individual choice and reduces the role of government in the process of land use.

I propose a two phase plan to restore private property rights and protect property owners from locally undesirable land uses within Seminole County:

  1. Phase 1 : Allow for local areas (i.e., neighborhoods)[3] to opt out of the current zoning laws, remain with the current zoning laws, or apply their own brand of land use rules via the restrictive covenant method. This phase would last for a period of 10 - 20 years.[4]
  2. Phase 2 : Allow for neighborhoods to have no land use restrictions or apply their own brand of land use rules via the restrictive covenant method.[5]


PRO-PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS LINKS


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FOOTNOTES

[1] Under the current system of zoning, property owners have lost their development rights to their own lands. The government has confiscated this. The negative effects of the confiscation of a private property owner's development right by government are profound and far reaching. The government generally allows my neighbors to exercise the development right for my property and me to exercise the development rights to their property. But, in practice, my neighbors do not own the development right to my property. Their exercise of it is only with the permission of government, it is vague and uncertain based on whether some particular official listens to them or not. My neighbors cannot sell me back my development right nor can I trade development rights with them so that we each do what we choose with our property. This is because only the government owns the the development right.

But, what if government were to give up its de facto ownership of my land and give it to my homeowners' or property owners' association and also gave the homeowners' or property owners' association the ownership of all the other land in the neighborhood? I would be much better off. The reason is that I have an ownership interest in the homeowners' or property owners' association whereas I have no ownership interest in government. The association could sell that development right. For example, what if a developer came along and offered to just pay $1 million to the homeowners' and property owners' association for permission to put in a convenience store on one lot in the neighborhood? Some might turn them down. Others might consider allowing the convenience store & divide the revenue amongst all the property owners in the association. It would depend on the benefits and disadvantages of having the million dollars versus the convenience store; BUT such a decision would be made by the individual property owners in the surrounding area - NOT five county commissioners. Developers often do offer government payments of a sort in exchange for permission to build. This is typically done when the developer agrees to put in some feature of the property (typically landscaping, fences, or utilities) which government wants and which costs a lot of money. Return to text.

[2] Robert W. Poole states in pp. 136-142 of his book entitled Cutting Back City Hall: "Few people even realize that in one major American city there is a completely different approach to protecting land values, one that avoids arbitrary controls over private property. And interestingly, it turns out that this approach costs taxpayers substantially less than conventional planning and zoning methods.... Houston, Texas.... Private deed restrictions, also known as restrictive covenants... [are the ONLY means used to protect property owners from locally undesirable land uses]. For those who wish tight control over land use, deed restrictions provide a way that is in many respects better than zoning.... [because Deed] restrictions cannot be changed by the political process - as everyone knows happens regularly with zoning (variances, general revisions, upzoning, downzoning).... Moreover, without the possibility of zoning variances - since there are none to grant - the city is spared the possibility of payoffs to officials to gain favorable rulings, an all-too-common practice in other cities." Return to text.

[3] What exactly is defined as an "area" for purposes of forming a homeowners' or property owners' association? The definition of "area" is somewhat subjective but, I think that the county's existing system of detailed mapping and controls of land use are such that some general guidelines could be developed for this.

Some possible definitions of "area" for purposes of forming a homeowners' or property owners' association are:

[4] Here are some Phase 1 specific proposals:

[5] Specific proposals for Phase 2 are:


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