Broad Idaho Initiative Moves Forward


by Steven Geoffrey Gieseler

Today's Spokane (WA) Spokesman-Review has this story on Idaho's ambitious, just-qualified property rights ballot initiative.  Idaho's electorate will vote in November not only on eminent domain restrictions, but also on protections against onerous government land use regulations.

With all of the attention rightly paid Kelo, other government infringements on private property rights sometimes are overlooked.  Among the most insidious of these are zoning laws and other regulations so restrictive they can render private property nearly useless.  These in essence allow the government to "own" the land without paying for it. 

The Idaho initiative would require governments to compensate landowners where such regulations result in decreased property values.  The article notes that the initiative is modeled after Oregon's Measure 37, which was the subject of a law review article I co-authored with Timothy Sandefur and our former colleague, Leslie Lewallen (fifth link, center page).