by Karl Duff
Last week, Dennis Oost of the Kitsap County Department of Community Development claimed in public hearing that Kitsap could require a developer to build trail through private property as “condition of development approval”, although the county has no title or easement interest in the property. The example he used was a county map already showing trails that private property owners oppose.
Mr. Oost apparently does not realize or care that such proposed action is thoroughly illegal, having been twice ruled upon by the U.S. Supreme Court. It is illegal for government to exact such takings as condition of granting a permit. Possibly DCD Director Larry Keeton does not realize this either, since such practices are becoming a common extortion tool used by local governments to get property owners to give up property rights before granting permit approval. Many citizens ‘cave’ to these demands when they don’t have to.
Prosecutor Russ Hauge probably knows this. Government employees who perpetrate such a crime against private property are also subject to civil rights prosecution and sanctions of up to 10 years in federal prison.
The case law is found in Nollan vs. California Coastal Commission (1994) and Dolan vs City of Tigard (1987).