Just last night the Metropolitan King County Council (which covers Seattle and ALOT of rural and suburban area around Seattle) passed county land use ordinances that would have made Stalin proud. From the Seattle Times, County approves three of land-use regulations By Keith Ervin (Seattle Times staff reporter)
Environmentalists supported the package, while rural landowners mounted months of protests and blasted it as "a massive land grab" that violates their property rights.
Yesterday's action came six days after the Pierce County Council became the first in the state to adopt a tough clearing rule that requires rural residential landowners to keep 65 percent of their land in native vegetation.
Sims' original proposal contained that restriction, but the council's growth-management committee last month reduced the native-vegetation requirement to 50 percent on properties of 5 acres or less.
If adopted, the modified ordinance would allow owners of more than 5 acres to set aside 2½ acres or 65 percent of the land, whichever is less.
The clearing restriction is intended to protect streams and species such as threatened chinook salmon by preserving forests throughout watersheds. Advocates cited scientific research that suggests deforestation significantly alters the runoff of rainwater, damaging streams.
Members of the Republican minority on the County Council blasted the package as unfairly putting the burden of environmental protection on rural residents, while city dwellers and suburbanites shoulder little of the burden.
Pierce County is where Washington's second largest city, Tacoma, is located. Coincidentally?, King and Pierce Counties are the Democrat strongholds (strangleholds?) in the state. While these measures are incredibly popular with the "tree huggers" and city dwellers, the folks living in the suburbs and rural areas just got clobbered. If this ordinance stands it will wipe out the value of land held for generations as savings and investment for hundreds, if not thousands of King and Pierce County residents. These counties have basically taken 50 to 65 percent of all private land holdings and made them unusable and off limits. Oh, and by the way the owners still have to pay the taxes on them.
I think, however, there may be a bright side to this. If the Republicans on the ballots jump on this and use it effectively it could put Dino Rossi in the Governor's Mansion and make even be enough to push George Nethercutt ahead of uber-Democrat Patty Murray. Maybe I'm just over-thinking and really over-reaching on this, but I really believe that these sharply partisan votes in two counties over land use could reach all the way to the Governor's Mansion and maybe even to the chambers of the United States Senate.
Dare I say it? Could it even erode Democrat support on the Presidential ticket? The backlash from this could be significant. The local Democrats could have just handed the state and national Democrats a stunning set back. In the words of a famous Democrat, Tip O'neill, "All politics is local".
Come on Washington State GOP, the Dumocrat's have given us the ball, let's run with it!!