“Grandfathering” it’s Tricky

by Vivian Henderson viviankapo@wavecable.com
With new regulations coming down every day regulating our property and lives, we seem to take a lot of comfort in the word “grandfathering”. DON’T! Definitions can be tricky.

Recently I was reviewing a proposal by the Hood Canal Coordinating Council’s Technical Advisory Committee Stormwater and Land Use Practices Workgroup to develop a set of recommended actions to address Stormwater runoff in the Hood Canal watershed. The workgroup is comprised of “experts” from State government agencies and the tribes.

The plan assures us right away “This action only addresses new development; no existing development is affected.”  Exempting existing development is “grandfathering”. But a new deck or garage/workshop is “new development” As is a replacement septic system.  Anything you’d need a permit for could be defined as “new” development. How about replacing your home after a fire or other loss? Wouldn’t that be “new development”?

I asked about that and was assured that a home could be replaced. But the report doesn’t say that. It’s these little pesky definitions we have to watch as government churns out increasingly restrictive controls on our lives and property.

I’m the first to admit that this “work group” can’t make laws and regulations.  They make recommendations and suggest policy.  The trouble I have with that is when lawmakers are presented with recommendations and policy it’s very easy to pass them into law without ever having read them.  It happens all the time.  How convenient for the lawmakers.   A bureaucrat did their work for them.

KAPO wisely questions and challenges definitions.  You should too. It’s the regulator’s secret weapon.


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