Thursday, February 01, 2007

What a fine mess you've gotten us into, Dorothy


Multnomah County Chairman Ted Wheeler on Tuesday proposed that the county approve an expedited process that would allow 94-year-old Dorothy English to divide her 22 acres of property in the northwest corner of the county into eight buildable lots.

Wheeler’s proposal – which will go before the county Board of Commissioners for approval at its Feb. 15 meeting – is the next and possibly final chapter to one of the more famous land-use disputes in the state during the last few years.

If approved and agreed to by English’s lawyers, the proposal would save the county $1.15 million in compensation that it otherwise would need to pay English. English won the right to that compensation late last year after she filed suit in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Because of her difficulty in dividing her Multnomah County land into smaller parcels, English became the chief petitioner of Measure 37, a property rights measure that voters approved in 2004.

The measure allows landowners to file for compensation from governments when new land regulations adopted after they purchased the property diminish the value of that property. English and her late husband bought their Multnomah County land in 1953.

After voter approval of Measure 37, county leaders in 2005 and 2006 approved orders that waived regulations to allow English to divide the land.

But even after those orders, English and her lawyers argued, many regulations remained in place that made it difficult or impossible to build homes on the lots.

Yeah...those pesky regulations like ACCESS FOR EMERGENCY VEHICLES and not screwing over the water table for everybody else.

I know she's an old lady..but she's pissing me off. Or her lawyers are, anyway.

Which reminds me of the epic irony of conservatives who bitch about "trial lawyers" when those are the people that go to bat for them in court for their crap.

Maybe its time we did a "tort-reform" style slapdown on M37 claims.