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Sprawl:
Regulatory Takings

Our Position: oppose
Bill Number: H.4503
Sponsor: Rep. Tracy Edge (R-Horry)
Legislative Session: 05/06

If this "takings" legislation passes it will be a threat to all land use planning in South Carolina.  It would require local governments to pay cash compensation for any changes in zoning which affects property.  Land use planning and zoning are the only tools that local governments have to plan for future growth and to ensure that their communities’ quality of life is maintained and/or improved.  If this bill were enacted as currently written, counties and cities would be limited in their ability to plan for infrastructure (roads and water and sewer lines) or control where business and industry are located, such as factories and large-scale animal facilities.    It is unclear whether counties that don’t currently have county-wide zoning would even be able to enact any kind of land use rules in the future.

An independent study conducted in 1998 concluded that just in the first year, similar takings legislation would cost state taxpayers nearly $126 million. Only a fifth of this money would compensate landowners. The rest of the payouts would cover local governments’ administrative and legal costs. 

Status

Has passed the House.

Action Needed

WHEN YOU CONTACT MEMBERS, ASK THEM TO:

  • Remove the "regulatory takings" component of H. 4503.  It will require local governments to pay millions in compensation for changes in land use planning; 
  • Pass the Eminent Domain legislation WITHOUT the regulatory takings language.  The true and complete impact of that component has not been studied.

More information

Click here for a complete copy of the bill.

Contact

Background

Click here for a complete copy of the bill.

The Spartanburg Herald,in a recent editorial, described the bill as follows:

"It would change the state constitution and limit the ability of cities and counties to plan their future. It would require local governments to pay landowners in the event that a change in zoning or a land-use plan reduces the value of their property.

This would handcuff counties and cities that want to manage their growth, save scenic or agricultural areas and channel industrial growth to certain areas.

Counties and cities would be limited in their ability to plan effectively for infrastructure improvements such as water and sewer lines because they couldn't control where new factories or subdivisions would be located.

The House bill would be worse than no bill. The use of eminent domain has been regulated well by South Carolina courts. The state would be better off trusting in current state case law on eminent domain than taking on the limitations in the House bill, which would prevent communities from managing their futures.

Lawmakers should adopt the Senate plan or drop the whole idea."

The State in an editorial on Feb 26, 2006 had this to say:

"........But the bigger problem is that our legislators will pretty much always take sides with pretty much anybody whose petty individual interests collide with those of the entire communities in which they live or do business. We will see that again on Tuesday when the House takes up a bill to force cities and counties to pay any property owners whose property value is potentially reduced by zoning or other land-use rules.

The bottom line: If you’re a property owner with the money and influence to get heard by our lawmakers, they will go to any absurd lengths to protect your interests. But if you are one of the hundreds or thousands of other individuals whose property values are harmed by that one privileged character exercising his “rights,” tough luck."

     
     

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