Category Archives: Pending Legislation

Will the voters freeze new housing development in November?

If a poison causes a disease, the obvious cure has to be even more poison, right? To most of us, that prescription sounds insane—but it’s a fair description of California’s approach to addressing the disease that is the state’s affordable housing shortage. Because much of the existing shortage is caused by government interference with the housing market, the solution, some people reason, must be even more government meddling.

That certainly seems to be the theory behind the misleadingly titled “Rental Affordability Act” appearing on California’s November ballot. This latest misguided scheme, which would allow cities to enact rent control caps on most homes at least 15 years old, will only worsen the affordable housing crisis.

Why is affordable housing such a problem in California? There are a variety of reasons, including restrictive zoning laws, environmental restrictions and other regulatory burdens, punishing impact fees, and NIMBY opposition from other landowners.

But when it comes to building new apartments, one disincentive looms above all others: rent control. Rent control first arose in California in the 1970s in response to changing residential demographics. With a scarcity of affordable single-family homes, more Californians moved into apartments. That, in turn, led to a shortage of apartments. With the supply low and demand high, rents correspondingly rose. In response, liberal enclaves like Santa Monica and San Francisco imposed rent control schemes.

The impact on housing supplies was predictable: Builders feared losing money in rent-controlled jurisdictions, so they took their business and investment elsewhere.

In 1995, the legislature stepped in to limit the damage by passing the bi-partisan Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. That law prohibited cities from imposing rent control on single-family homes and condominiums. Most importantly, newly built apartment buildings would be free from rent control. Moreover, once an existing tenant vacated a rent-controlled apartment, the rent could be reset to match market conditions. While too many other restrictions remained in place to fully address the housing shortage, it did help. More new apartments were built once developers knew they’d be free from rent control.

Until now, that is. In 2018, a group of activists tried to use a ballot measure to toss Costa-Hawkins and allow rent control to be imposed throughout the state. Fortunately, that proposal lost overwhelmingly, with 62% of California voters rejecting the new rent control scheme.

Now the same activists are back with a slightly scaled-back version. Once again, they want to toss Costa-Hawkins and make rent control safe for ambitious politicians. If they get away with it this time, it will make California’s housing crisis much worse than it already is.

Economists are in near-universal agreement on rent control: In a 2012 survey of professional economists, 98% agreed that rent control doesn’t work. By making housing shortages worse, rent control forces prices higher. Any benefit to those living in rent-controlled apartments is more than offset by higher housing costs for everyone else. Even left-leaning economist Paul Krugman warns of the perils of rent control, calling it “predictable” that in a rent-controlled environment there will be “sky-high rents on uncontrolled apartments, because desperate renters have nowhere to go—and the absence of new apartment construction, despite those high rents, because landlords fear that controls will be extended.”

A recent study of San Francisco, where  older apartments are largely free from the effects of Costa-Hawkins, found that rent control failed to keep costs low, and instead resulted in a net loss of affordable housing units. Again, this was predictable: When prices of any good are forced below the market price, the demand for the price-controlled good increases, while the incentive to supply that good decreases. A shortage develops.

And the Rental Affordability Act, if passed in November, will have precisely the same effect. We’re all familiar with the old saying that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” There’s no better illustration of that principle than this latest effort to dress up failed rent control schemes as a solution to the affordable housing crisis. Here’s hoping voters get the message and reject this poisonous ballot initiative, so we can focus on solutions that will actually improve the situation, like changes to zoning laws and regulatory reform that will allow for more new construction.

Pacific Legal Foundation article July 09, 2020 By JAMES BURLING

 

 

KAPO Testimony on Stormwater Design Manual Changes

KITSAP ALLIANCE OF PROPERTY OWNERS (KAPO) over the years has maintained a vigil against over regulation and regulation for regulation sake. We have been consistent in continually bringing the question – “what is the problem we are trying to solve? to the forefront. The next question to be examined in the public debate is: “how are the existing regulations failing to address the problem? While answering these questions we want to know what types of studies have been performed to document problem(s) or the ineffective measures applied in the past. And equally important is: “what is the cost to the public and private sectors to implement new regulations.”

Any regulation, existing or proposed that is crafted without first answering the above basic questions, is by definition “regulation for regulation sake.” Volume 1 of the Stormwater Design Manual fits that definition. It is that fact and other issues as outlined in this review response, that explains why KAPO is opposed to these new stormwater design regulations.

KAPO knows it is costly to actually study the environment (to include the regulatory environment) and it is much easier to just propose regulations because somebody thinks it might be a good idea. The problem with that approach is that regulations get piled on top of other regulations and nobody ever takes the time to make the analysis of whether we even need all of the regulations a county or city has adopted. Read the full letter: KAPO Testimony StmWtrDsgnRegs 6-16-20

Kitsap County Response Matrix to Citizen comments: SDM Comment Matrix

Response To Staff Comments In The Matrix For Issues Raised By Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners On June 16, 2020

Honorable Commissioners:

Before addressing the Staff comments in the matrix, KITSAP ALLIANCE OF PROPERTY OWNERS (KAPO) wants to emphasize something to correct an impression that might be held by some. Besides our mission of working to see that the protections in our US and State Constitutions are not abridged for people who own property, we are advocates for “local control and decision making” and not for State or Regional Control of Kitsap County. Thus, we want our local legislators and their supporting staff to have as their primary concern, what is best for Kitsap County and not what a state agency thinks is best or implements through their funding guidelines. In short, we reject the premise that says in effect, “the state made me do it” to include adoption of this or that regulation.

Even when our State law makers impose regulations on Kitsap County without our (the people of Kitsap County’s) consent, we want to see evidence that our local legislators have exerted every effort possible to oppose regulations that adversely affect the residents and property owners of Kitsap County or the County’s budget in a vigorous line of defense.

Quite frankly what we have witnessed in the last 20-years of involvement in the plans and ordinance development process is either no strong advocacy for local control or passive resistance only. The net result being that abdominal admission ………. “we have no choice ……… the State mandates it.” All that does is call into question, “who do our elected and staff actually represent, the State or Kitsap County?

Now to the issues posed in our June 16th letter. Continue reading

Widlife Corridors Conservation Act

THE WILDLIFE CORRIDORS CONSERVATION ACT – What You Need to Know

The 2019 Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act.(WCCA) is perhaps the most significant attack on private property rights in decades, perhaps ever.  A simple look at the list of sponsors of the proposed legislation provides plenty of warning about what this new law portends.

The WCCA was  introduced in Congress in May 2019. In the Senate, the bill is being led by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), and was cosponsored by Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D- NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).  The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressmen  Don Beyer  (D-VA) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL).

REWILDING advocates and their minions in Congress  are ecstatic over what this “ACT” will lead to once it is enacted.  Don’t be fooled folks! This legislation doesn’t SAVE wildlife!  Non-endangered species such as grizzly bears and wolves don’t need your private property or more Federal land to survive. Continue reading

Opinion: Hirst Legislation Inaction

“Morally repugnant”? No, it’s simply what rural families need

The court’s decision has left some families stuck. They’re unable to build on property that they bought before the decision, when new homes had the green light. That’s a big hit to rural economies. The Spokesman-Review noted, “People who purchased property under the old rules now face the prospect of not being able to build on it. Plummeting property values would also impact builders, lenders and county tax collections.”

Continue reading

Senate Report: EPA’s New Regulations defining Waters of the US will be carried to extremes

UNITED STATES SENATE REPORT:From Preventing Pollution of Navigable and Interstate Waters to Regulating Farm Fields, Puddles and Dry Land:

A Senate Report on the Expansion of Jurisdiction Claimed by the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act

United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Majority Staff Released: September 20, 2016

Case studies presented to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee demonstrate that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) new regulation defining “waters of the United States” (WOTUS), promulgated on June 29, 2015, will codify many of the most extreme overreaches of federal authority asserted by these agencies.

Although the new regulation is currently stayed, pending the outcome of litigation challenging the rule, these case studies demonstrate that assurances given by EPA and the Corps regarding the scope of the WOTUS rule and its exemptions to the positions taken by these agencies in jurisdictional determinations and in litigation are factually false. Continue reading

Washington DOE proposes new Clean Water Rules

Details of draft fish consumption rule released

The new preliminary draft rule proposes standards for how clean our waters need to be, and would control pollution limits for businesses and municipalities that discharge waste water. The rule contains a unique provision that no standard would allow more pollution than today’s standard, except arsenic that occurs naturally. Seventy percent of the standards would actually enhance protection by requiring cleaner water.

OLYMPIA – Washingtonians get a chance to preview proposed water quality standards for toxic chemicals that include new fish consumption rates.

Consistent with Governor Jay Inslee’s July 9 directive, the Washington Department of Ecology is making details of the preliminary draft rule available for early review. “This meets the clear directive from the governor that we update our clean water standards to protect the health of all Washingtonians, our environment and our economy,” said Ecology Director Maia Bellon. “Those most affected have been anxious to see the details, and now they can get a preview of the complete proposal.” Continue reading

Property owners need protection from unlicensed geologists.

One of the Six BIG Problems we’ve identified with the Shoreline Master Program Updates  is the use of “best available science” that isn’t. Frankly, that’s a big problem with a lot of land use regulations and actions by well meaning planners and agency staffers.

There is a bill that’s being considered during the current special session of the Washington State Legislature that would deal with part of the problem. It deals with violations of our state’s geology licensing laws (RCW 18.220). One of the most persistent violators has been the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology).

Ecology personnel assume titles such as “Hydrogeologist” despite having no license. In addition, Ecology wetland scientists regularly and openly practice hydrogeology and geomorphology without a license. Unlicensed Ecology staff have even rejected the geological reports of licensed professionals, harming the public welfare and interfering with the right of licensed professionals to practice in their lawful profession.

If you think it’s time to require Ecology to follow state law, please read and sign this petition.

What is the Legislature up to?

They’re baaaaaaaaaack. In addition to major budget issues, our elected representatives are considering the following bills which should be of interest to landowners and water users in Washington:

Continue reading

State Supreme Court Rejects KAPO Shoreline Appeal

By Christopher Dunagan,
Kitsap Sun, Bremerton, WA

Posted July 18, 2011 at 4:33 p.m.

OLYMPIA — Washington State
Supreme Court has declined to consider a challenge to Kitsap County’s Critical Areas Ordinance — including a requirement for 100-foot buffers along rural shorelines.

Without comment, the Supreme Court upheld a ruling from the Washington State Court of Appeals in favor of the county and against the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners. Continue reading

What Does “No Net Loss” Mean?

Testimony of Chuck Shank for the Public Hearing 23 May 2011 Kitsap County Shoreline Inventory and Characterization Report

May 27, 2011

Dear County Commissioners,

What precisely does the catch phrase “no net loss” mean?

It’s very important that we the public get clear definitions of the words and phrases being used during the public participation phase of the SMP update. Continue reading