W e are constantly bom- barded with sound bites to sway us into making uninformed choices.
Unfortunately, sound bites are also used in ballot initiatives.
The Proposition 207 initiative is the worst abuse of the initiative process I have ever seen.
It is a sinister attempt by out-of-state interests to hide the true intent of what they really want.
This initiative has two parts:
The first part involves the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo decision. That was a very narrow ruling involving eminent domain and dealt with the government taking land from one private party and giving it to another private party solely to increase the tax base.
Pima County and Arizona have laws in place to ensure protection of private property.
However, the proponents of this initiative are using the eminent domain issue as the poster child of motherhood and apple pie to promote their hidden agenda, which is the second part of the initiative.
The second part of Prop. 207 is much broader in scope and states “a yes vote shall have the effect of requiring compensation for property values reduced by land use laws.”
If this were to pass, it would tie the hands of local governments and prohibit them from effecting future policies and ordinances for almost all land use planning. It would be the worst shift in planning in more than 50 years.
We already have made great strides in bringing together developers, neighbors and governments to reach consensus and compromise when considering development.
The passing of Prop. 207 would upset this balance and take us back to the days of wildcat developments where “anything goes.”
Comprehensive plans and zoning codes are dynamic documents. They change with the times as development, housing trends and how people use their property change.
Pima County already has taken measures to address the infrastructure and social impacts of growth by adopting our award-winning Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, and the county has worked diligently to protect hillsides, peaks and ridges, encroachment in washes and our water supply.
If Prop. 207 passes, Pima County would no longer be able to do this.
Voters recently approved the Regional Transportation Authority plan to address transportation needs in Pima County.
Prop. 207 would cause significant delays and cost increases to county taxpayers as local governments implement the projects.
Some other efforts Prop. 207 could jeopardize:
● The county’s efforts to protect Davis-Monthan Air Force Base from urban encroachment and the ultimate users of land around the base.
● The county’s ongoing efforts to protect residential neighborhoods from junk cars, unpermitted structures and inappropriate land uses.
● The county’s efforts to develop design standards for architecture and site design to protect Southwestern architectural styles, viewsheds and appropriate building heights.
Arizona is projected to grow from a population of 6 million today to 15 million in the near future. If Prop. 207 passes, Arizona will have virtually no ability to do effective land use planning.
Prop. 207 creates huge uncertainty for property owners, neighbors, developers and governments.
It is vital to exercise one’s right to vote – but it is imperative that it be an informed choice.
About the author
Ann Day is a former state legislator who since 2000 has represented District 1, the foothills and the Northwest Side on the Pima County Board of Supervisors.