I remember when I was in elementary school that our teachers always impressed upon us the nature of placing our names on everything. If it was our box of crayons, our name had to be on it. If it was our homework, our name had to be on it. If it was our school book, our name had to be on it. Now, with Mother’s Day quickly approaching (note to self — Mother’s Day this Sunday), I remember my mom getting in on the act by placing my name on my lunch and jacket.
Placing our names on our items did a few things:
- It cleared up any confusion we had when we found lost articles to whom it belonged.
- It gave each child a pride in ownership and a sense of responsibility to be sure that we took care of what was entrusted to us.
However, some adults seem to have lost their way to this notion of ownership. Take for example the recent news article that appeared in the Arizona Daily Star on Monday concerning a couple of vacant houses with lots near Speedway and North Stone in Tucson.
Neighbors reported four years ago that the house was vacant to the city. The city slated it for demolition and it was carried out just recently. Now, with the second house that was reported vacant and slated for demolition, some of the neighbors are sounding an alarm to stop it.
However, the reasons why the neighbors are protesting the demolition are not the ones that they would have you believe. You see, the properties were sold recently to a Phoenix-are investor group who were told by the city to either tear down the houses or repair them. Repairing these houses were not the interests of the property owners. Rather, they want to build a retail-condo complex in its location much to the dismay of the neighbors.
So, some of the neighbors tried to pull the historic designation card because it was “contributing structure” to the historical nature of the neighborhood. This does nothing to stop the owners of the property from doing what they wish. When the neighbors don’t get what they want, they then point to the Private Property Rights Protection Act (Proposition 207) as the problem. This act, passed in 2006 by the voters, allows for homeowners, businesses, and churches to be protected from eminent domain and regulatory takings and is the strongest property rights protection in the nation.
How do I know that there is a political agenda to lash out against Proposition 207? Check out these lines:
The handful of city neighborhoods that are locally designated historic districts are the only ones with that protection, said Jonathan Mabry, the city’s historic preservation officer.“There is no regulatory or legal procedure the city could use to prevent demolition of a property that is listed on the national register,” Mabry said.He added that the demolition points up the need for some mechanism to “encourage and incentivize property owners to repair and adaptively reuse” such historical structures.The city is deterred from enacting laws ordering such things by passage of Proposition 207 in 2006. That statewide measure requires that municipalities compensate property owners for the monetary impact of zoning laws.“This is the type of situation where the community calls for more regulation, but since Arizona voters passed Proposition 207, that’s not an option for local governments. This should increase public awareness that it needs to be fixed,” Mabry said.
He added that the demolition points up the need for some mechanism to “encourage and incentivize property owners to repair and adaptively reuse” such historical structures.