Property rights are often defended, and unfortunately often usurped, at a local government level. Zoning is one of several land use regulatory policies where I would seek to reduce the footprint of government so as to advocate and defend maximum possible rights to land and building owners.
This opinion piece was published for me on the topic of Zoning in the Binghamton Press September 10th, 2017:
I will continue to post in this blog about these important topics. Please feel free to comment on what you would like to see improved in the Town of Owego.
August 2019: A hot topic which has been coming up is what to do about Wind & Solar power projects. Keith Price Jr. and I had this published in the Binghamton Press this last week-
Salvage bonds are a good plan for wind turbines, community solar projects, cell towers:
New York State is on a fast track with extremely ambitious clean energy goals. Municipal governments throughout the state are going to see an accelerating pace of proposals to allow construction of wind and solar projects. While we object to the use of federal and state tax dollars to subsidize ANY type of energy technology (make no mistake we have excessive subsidies for oil and natural gas also), it’s difficult to expect local government officials to over-rule poor policies of higher authorities. For example to create a zoning policy which would be an infringement upon property rights in other circumstances, is a “two wrongs make a right” approach. That’s not good governing practice.
What local governing authorities could and should do, is to require salvage bonds for types of private development projects which could not readily be re-purposed at their forecasted end of life. The bond should be payable to the municipal government and should cover all costs necessary to salvage the site and restore the property to a near Greenfield condition.
Most commercial and industrial buildings would not need such bonds, as buildings often are able to be re-purposed without major expense. Cellular phone towers are another example of a type of private sector construction which isn’t readily re-purposed at end of life. Policies must be established which meet procedural and substantive due process. Rules which specifically require bonds ONLY for wind and solar, are likely to be struck down as unlawfully restrictive.
While a salvage bond is fair and sensible, we should also seek to reduce or eliminate local government excise taxes, impact fees, etc. An excise tax for wind or solar power is passed onto the consumer, bad enough for our state government to impose those charges, local governments should not pile on also. Any impact fee needs to be an honest calculation of true impact upon public infrastructure. Those fees too should be kept limited.
Rich Purtell – Libertarian Owego Town Council candidate
Keith Price – Libertarian Owego Town Council candidate