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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Land Use Regulations To Loosen?

Given that one alleged reason for skyrocketing housing prices is government land use regulation, it is worth mentioning that land use restrictions in King County and across Washington State may be loosening in the coming year. In what may be an attempt to stave off the state-wide property rights initiative, the King County Executive is considering easing restrictions on rural businesses.

After years of perceived slights, King County Executive Ron Sims is extending an olive branch to the county's rural population: a three-part proposal to give rural businesses a regulatory break.

The legislation is still in its infancy, but after citizen comment and one or two rewrites, it could result in small but helpful code revisions that would make operating home-based businesses and animal-care services a lot easier in rural King County, executive staff members said Monday.

The proposal is the result of a series of meetings with rural residents, many of whom were upset with the 2004 regulation known as the "critical area ordinance," which required rural property owners to leave up to two-thirds of their land in a natural state.
...
"We've been reluctant to increase the kind of housing we allow, but this strikes a good balance," said Sims' senior policy adviser, Karen Wolf. "We'll get some public input on this, but we think it does the trick."
"The trick" likely being to appease the populous just enough that they perhaps do not vote for Initiative 933, which is intended to:
...protect the use and value of private property while providing for a healthy environment and ensuring that government agencies do not damage the use or value of private property, except if necessary to prevent threats to human health and safety.
I doubt the paltry efforts of Mr. Sims are likely to affect the success of the initiative, but I also don't know whether the initiative will really affect home values. What do you think?

(Amy Rolph, Seattle P-I, 07.18.2006)
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2 comments:

biliruben said...

There's no shortage of land where these regs are in force, so no, I don't think it will influence housing prices.

seattle price drop said...

If land squeeze was a factor in keeping RE prices aloft, values would never have fallen in Tokyo, Manhattan or Hong Kong, to name just a few.

RE down-cycles are affected by a lot of things, lack of land, isn't one of them- although it's always a primary "reason" given for RE up- cycles!