Monday, July 10, 2006

Land law gobbles planning staff

That was the headline last week on a story that ran in the Oregonian: "Land Law Gobbles Planning Staff."

The article lamented how expensive it was for city and county planning department bureaucrats to process all the Measure 37 claims that have sprung up since the Oregon Supreme Court upheld the measure.

I scanned my memory for the Oregonian articles that have lamented how expensive it is for cities and counties to comply with all the Oregon land use laws in the first place. I can't ever remember reading an article in the Oregonian that worried about the incredible growth in planning staff expenses since Senate Bill 100 passed in 1973.

But pass an initiative that requires cities to mow down some regulations, and the Oregonian immediately mourns the cost of implementing the measure.

Elon Hasson, a lobbyist for 1000 Friends of Oregon said: "So much time is spent dealing with 37, everything else suffers."

By "everything else," Hasson is referring to the obstacles that planners put in front of anyone wanting to make productive use of their property. THAT is what planners are really for - to stop development.

Of course, the article never considers whether all the costs of Measure 37 compliance (and then some) might not be paid for the property taxes on the new property value that will be generated by the growth that Measure 37 claims unleashes.

Take a 10 unit housing development allowed by a Measure 37 claim. The claim might cost $10,000 in planning staff expenses to process. When built, there could easily be $5,000,000 of increased property value created on that land. That would spin off $75,000 per year in property taxes. Forever.

Interesting that Laura Oppenheimer, who wrote the story, neglected to even acknowledge that there might be such an offset. Shows how stuck she is in a static world view.

1 comment:

Dare!PDX said...

Its all about perspective. Obviously you've determined the Oregonian's.