Oregon voters passed Measure 49 (House Bill 3540) yesterday by a 61-39 margin. Measure 49 significantly alters existing land use laws that were enacted under Measure 37 three years ago. Measure 37 allows property owners to demand compensation from state and/or local governments for land use rules that restrict a person's use of real property and allegedly reduce its value. Instead of paying money, government may allow the claimant to use property for a use that the claimant could have carried out when he or she acquired the property. With, I believe, one exception in thousands of claims, governments have chosen to waive and not apply land use regulations in lieu of compensating landowners.
Measure 49 addresses longstanding uncertainties surrounding the issue of "waiver transferability" squarely: M37 waivers are able to be transferred from the claimant to new owners.
Measure 49 divides existing M37 claimants into three classes. "Vested rights" are central to determining the proper class for each claimant and the manner in which they may, or may not, proceed with their development plans. The number of lots to be created by the claimant is another determining factor. Essentially, creation of 1-3 lots is "fast-tracked" and approved (with certain exceptions), creation of 4-10 lots needs to be justified by a legitimate "reduction in value" appraisal before being approved, and creation of more than 10 lots is prohibited. I am generalizing here but I hope you get the gist.
As a county planner in Oregon, today is a huge day for me personally and professionally. I look forward to rediscovering long-range planning in the office and being able to recommit resources towards projects that will serve the public interest and advance the common good. I look forward to working in a state that is again able to preserve farmland, reduce conflicting uses in forestland, encourage economic development within urban cores, and promote livability for future generations to come.
Today is a very good day.