Earth Notes
2:10 am
Fri August 18, 2006

Arizona voters to decide on eminent domain

Phoenix, AZ – Proposition 207 would restrict when government can
declare areas blighted and condemn them. But it also
would require compensation for people any time a new
land use law or rule diminishes the value of their
property. Initiative backers contend that if government
wants new restrictions, like changes in zoning or open
space requirements, it should pay those affected.
Mayors of four cities, including Joseph Donaldson of
Flagstaff and Lawrence Nelson of Yuma sued saying the
measure doesn't comply with a two-year old
constitutional amendment which says that any new
mandate on state funding must also include a new source
of revenue to pay for it. Attorney Lisa Hauser said
Prop 207 does not.

(If you go back and read the publicity pamphlet from
two years ago on this measure, this is exactly what the
voters intended, that it would be information that they
would have before the election.)

Judge Paul McMurdie conceded Prop 207 appears to be
flawed. But he said other provisions -- including
similar payment requirements on cities who are not
covered by that two-year-old law -- are likely legal.
He said it would be wrong to knock the whole measure
off the ballot when the invalid parts could be simply
declared unenforceable after the election. The mayors
will appeal to the state Supreme Court. In Phoenix, for
Arizona PUblic Radio this is Howard Fischer.