From relentlessly sunny Southern California, I noted the recent and growing uproar over Kootenai County’s land use code re-write. And from here, where the sprawl goes on and on and on for miles, the growing opposition to Kootenai County’s Unified Land Use Code (ULUC) project appears to be either pointlessly obstructionist or appallingly uninformed. Either way, if the opponents were truly interested in property rights and regulatory streamlining, they’d be supporting the County’s reform efforts.
Ignoring the completely nutty “U.N. Agenda 21? conspiracy theorists, the ULUC opposition appears to be based primarily in a “property rights” viewpoint that ignores both the law and the policy choices that guide modern land use across the country. Despite the bluster coming from the usual North Idaho know-it-alls, “property rights” are simply not absolute. In fact, property rights of individuals are balanced to protect the property values in the community.
We don’t allow pig farms in downtown Coeur d’Alene — OMG! Regulations! — but there are obvious and legitimate reasons for this. The simple purpose of the ULUC is to provide a framework for land use fairness, where everyone — property owners AND their neighbors — have a codification of both their property rights AND their responsibilities, for everyone’s protection. Terry Harris, former KEA director/Kootenai Environmental Alliance blog