Protecting Your Property Rights
The Zoom call this week was presented by Buzz Mackintosh, and he spoke on protecting your property rights. In most urban areas, property rights are pretty well established, and could be more difficult to encroach or change.
Regretfully, the examples that Buzz offered were those encountered by his family or people that he knew in the area of Maryland he and his family call home. He was able to get a satisfactory resolution to the issues, but it was his attentiveness and perseverance that saved him and his friends.
Definition of property rights:
It would seem to be fairly basic, yet it does not take much to have rights removed or compromise.
Example he offered: He owns large acreage in his area of Frederick MD and has granted easement to the local power company to run their transmission towers and lines through his property. The power company submitted a plan that would have enlarged an area of his property to accommodate a larger substation. This would allow for transmission of power from West Virginia but only to travel further up to the Northeast with less than 5% of the power being needed locally. They were using the easement as a means to generate more power which would have only benefited the power company. He and his neighbors were able to stop the expansion and kept their property rights intact.
His second example had to deal with a Trust and property used for recreation in his area known as Sugarloaf Mountain. This area was once the personal property of a wealthy industrialist at the early part of the 20th century and has been set up per the wishes of the original owner for public. The trust expires late in 2046 and the county and state fear that when the trust expires the conservators of the trust will then start to develop the land, which would be contrary to the original owners will.
As a means to avoid this, the local legislators attempted to create an overlay on the land limiting use. This overlay would also impact much smaller landowners that happen to abut the property in question, thus stealing the property rights of the affected owners.
As a further example, Buzz noted, that if he had a large fire to his personal residence, the overlay restrictions were such that he would not be able to rebuild his house.
This is something that is being seen across the country and it is an attempt by government through the power companies to control individual energy usage. It is a program, where people can elect to get a smart thermostat, installed in their home. If they accept, they are given $100. In turn the government can control power usage at peak times by shutting off the power to those people that have the thermostats. These programs are currently in affect in California and Colorado.
Rural Legacy Program
This is a federal program which is intended to keep large tracts of land open. A property owner can sell their development rights to the government at a rate of $7,500 per acre. They can no longer subdivide their land and the rights would convey should the original owner sell. It also restricts the owner in subdividing to allow his family to build adjacent to the original owner.
In some instances, local governments will try to restrict development particularly in his area along large bodies of water that will flow into the Chesapeake Bay watershed area. and offer no compensation to the owners similar to the federal plan.
He encouraged people that live in areas where large tracts of land could be affected to be attentive to any potentials of development or implementation of unjust laws.
He also mentioned that there is assistance both from the state association of realtors as well as NAR to fight issues.
Protecting Your Property Rights