Study: Impact of Hirst Decision Will Have Far-Reaching Implications on State’s Economy

On October 6, 2016, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled in the so-called “Hirst” case. The implications of this decision have the potential of eliminating all or nearly all new household or exempt wells in rural Washington.

During the 2017 legislative sessions, press conferences of all four corners (both caucuses in both houses) and the Governor’s office repeatedly told the press there would be a Hirst fix, yet it didn’t get done. BIAW commissioned HR2 Research and Analytics to examine the economic impacts resulting from the Court’s decision. The results from the study reveal a significant impact to rural communities and residents as well as other parts of Washington state:

  • $6.9 billion lost in economic activity each year in Washington, predominantly in rural communities
  • $452.3 million in lost employee wages due to the impacts of Hirst, annually
  • Nearly 9,300 lost jobs (FTEs) in rural Washington, annually
  • $392.7 million in lost taxes to state and local governments, annually
  • $4.59 billion in losses to the construction industry, annually
  • $37 billion in lost property values in areas impacted by Hirst
  • $346 million in property taxes shifted to other properties in Washington due to the decision

The HR2 report indicates that the Hirst decision will have exponential and far-reaching impacts in Washington state, with large effects and costs to rural communities.

To read the entire report click here.

Building Industry Association of Washington Press Release




Lawmakers Urge Fix for Hirst Decision in Wake of New Study Showing $7 Billion Loss in Economic Activity Annually

Independent Study: Report Details Lower Employee Wages, Lost Jobs and Reduced Tax Revenue, Among Other Concerns

Several state lawmakers are voicing their desire to overturn a state Supreme Court water-rights decision after a study released by the Building Industry Association of Washington estimated that the Hirst decision would cost the state $6.9 billion annually in lost economic activity.

The decision makes it difficult and costly for rural and suburban property owners to get permits for new wells, lawmakers have said. The ruling essentially placed the burden of water availability studies on local jurisdictions and property owners. Previously, Department of Ecology data could be used to determine water availability. Continue reading

People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners

In Utah, the Federal Government Puts Prairie Dogs Over People

The question for the U.S. Supreme Court is whether protecting rodents counts as ‘interstate commerce.’

In southwestern Utah, federal regulations are artificially pitting people against prairie dogs—to neither’s benefit. There are about 80,000 Utah prairie dogs in the region, and the species is listed as threatened. State biologists would like to move the creatures from backyards and playgrounds to public conservation lands, but that’s forbidden under federal rules. The result of the regulations has been conflict but little progress toward lasting recovery for the species.

For years, towns like Cedar City have been stuck in what Greg Sheehan, principal deputy director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, has called “a quagmire of federal bureaucracy.” Washington’s heavyhanded regulations make it a crime for these Utahns to do things that the rest of us take for granted, like building homes in residential neighborhoods or starting small businesses. Cedar City can’t even protect its playgrounds, airport and cemetery from the disruptive, tunneling rodent.

Tired of being ignored, local residents banded together to form People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners. The group, represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, filed a lawsuit in 2013 arguing that the federal regulations were unconstitutional. Where did Congress get the power to pass such intrusive rules? Whenever this kind of question arises, the stock answer is the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which allows lawmakers to regulate commerce “among the several States.” But this species of prairie dog is found only in Utah, and it has no conceivable connection to interstate commerce. Continue reading

California City Asserts Right to Search Residence Without Warrant

‘Putting your home on the market should not mean mortgaging your constitutional rights’

Real estate agents in Santa Barbara, California, are suing their city over a law that gives city inspectors full access to homes, arguing it violates the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment privacy protections.

“Santa Barbara singles out home sellers and coerces them into giving up their vital Fourth Amendment privacy protections,” said Meriem Hubbard, a senior attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation.

“They’re pressured to allow city agents to roam through their living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, closets and attics without any evidence that the house has any problems,” he said. “Putting your home on the market should not mean mortgaging your constitutional rights.”

Hubbard said Santa Barbara’s “targeting of home sellers for searches and snooping must end, and the unconstitutional law that sanctions it must be struck down.”

The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. It’s why police must have a warrant or other legal adjudication to enter a residence.

But in Santa Barbara, the city law “requires home sellers to apply for a zoning inspection report and pay a $475 fee for the inspection process within five days of a sale agreement.”

“The inspections are open-ended, covering a variety of city codes – even though the Zoning Department staffers who conduct them aren’t licensed as building inspectors or surveyors,” the legal team argued. Continue reading

Call the Legislature back to pass capital budget, fix water-rights ruling

Former Washingon Gov. Dan Evans calls on the governor and Legislature to, finally, pass a capital budget and a fix for the state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision, which has halted development in some rural areas.

By Daniel J. Evans
Special to The Times

It’s time for Gov. Jay Inslee, together with Republicans and Democrats in both houses of the Legislature, to put partisanship aside and solve two pressing problems. Washington state needs a capital budget and a fix to the state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision, which has impacted homebuilding in rural areas.

As construction costs rise, every day that goes by without passage of the state’s capital budget means that taxpayers will pay more for building schools and other projects, and it means that needed construction is delayed.

Equally important is modification of the law in response to the Hirst decision. Hirst will shatter the American dream for some Washington state families because they may not be able to obtain water on the properties they purchased unless the Legislature enacts a solution to that decision.

A recent study by the Building Industry Association of Washington suggested that $6.9 billion in economic growth every year will be lost if the Hirst decision stands. Even if the assumptions in the analysis are exaggerated, and the court decision costs the state only $3 billion annually in economic activity, would that be acceptable? Of course not, especially in rural areas that are desperate for an economic boost. Continue reading

Oct 26: Dinner Speaker Jesse Lee Young @5PM

District 26th Rep. Jesse Lee Young

Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners Dinner Meeting Oct 26, 2017 with District 26 Rep Jesse Lee Young. Many changes are happening in the House, some good and some not so good.  Jesse has been working hard with Jan Angle and  others to ward off bad decision making in the legislature and is protecting our interest’s as home owners and families in a regulated world. Ask him questions and get a good understanding of how we can aide him to change things with our support.

Meet us for dinner @ 5:00 PM at McCloud’s Grill House, 2901 Perry Ave. Bremerton, WA No RSVP needed. Questions? Ask Jackie @ (360)990-1088.  See you there!



Sept 28: Dinner Speaker Tony Stephens

Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners would like to invite you to our September 28th DINNER MEETING. Our speaker is Mr. Tony Stephens Chair of the Board for Kitsap County Republican Party. What does it take to produce a really good candidate? I hope you have a lot of questions. I do and Toni has a lot of information for you. We have to start planning for the next election. Who will be our next candidates and how do we support them? It takes a lot of hard work from all to achieve a good candidate. Let us start NOW. Join us at McClouds Grill House 2901 Perry Ave. E., Bremerton, WA.98310 at 5:00 PM. No RSVP required. Just come order dinner and relax. Any questions call Jackie at (360) 990-1088