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Green Ribbon Reports

July 2004

King County, Washington: Private Property Rights Under Attack

Residents of King County, in the State of Washington, are outraged over a proposed law that would likely be the most restrictive land use regulation in the country. The proposed law is called the "65-10 Rule", which decrees that landowners must maintain 65 percent of their property in a natural state and the owners would only be allowed to build on 10 percent of their own property.

Such a proposal is a travesty. This law would trample private property rights. Environmentalists and other supporters of the rule claim personal property rights do not trump the rights of a larger community to save the eco-system. The plan is reportedly strongly supported by King County Executive Ron Sims who is running for governor of the state of Washington.

Rush Limbaugh expressed outrage about the proposal on his talk radio show: " … [T]he right to private property is as fundamental to a free people and free nation and capitalism as is any of the other [rights]. It may rank at the top."

The very fact that someone would even propose such a ridiculous concept is a sign of the times. What happened to the Constitutional prohibition against "takings"? Wasn’t this one of the very reasons that the Founding Fathers of this country sought independence. For those individuals who work long and hard to pay off their mortgage, where is the reward, what kind of incentive will there be to acquire and own private property? Surely this proposal would not pass a Constitutional test. However, even the mere fact that it has been proposed should be cause for concern.

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