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Regulations no threat to property rights?

A significant issue driving Provo campaigns in 2005 is property rights.

Typically, developers with a lot of money riding on the cause say owners are entitled to do whatever they want with their property. They insist their view reflects a conservative, "free market system " approach and they label anyone who disagrees with them as being un-American and anti-business.

A few facts might be helpful. Provo's own George Sutherland, perhaps the most conservative justice in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court and a founder of the Utah County Republican Party had a different viewpoint. He supported protecting the rights of all property owners by casting the deciding yes vote in America's landmark zoning case. Simply put, our right is to own property. Those who today make an argument against zoning laws -- the right to do with their land as they please no matter the consequences -- may really be libertarians masquerading as conservatives.

A simple slogan clarifies the issue: My property rights end where yours begin.

So where do candidates who are backed by these developers stand?

Dave Bailey says that he wants to protect neighborhoods while at the same time make it easier for developers. One small problem: one is the opposite of the other.

Mark Sumsion can't say he will let the free market work (i.e. approve most development applications) and then later complain about traffic (his top issue). Those who support any development at any cost as well as solving traffic problems can't get around this fact: one is caused by the other.

The actual building blocks in a pro-business foundation are low taxation and reasonable regulation. Therefore, Provo developers who complain it is difficult to build apartments in single-family neighborhoods are simply not justified in labeling candidates who they oppose as being unqualified and anti-business.

Property rights are critically important. Unfortunately, those cloaking themselves in the property rights mantle this election season are disguising the fact that they are really special interest groups who want uncontrolled and unaccountable development. They falsely claim to represent you and what's best for Provo.

I urge you to look beyond glossy campaign rhetoric. Provo voters deserve facts, not misinformation.

Stan Lockhart
former member of the Provo City Council.

ProvoCitizens.net's Rebuttal:

Stan Lockhart wrote:
A significant issue driving Provo campaigns in 2005 is property rights.Typically, developers with a lot of money riding on the cause say owners are entitled to do whatever they want with their property. They insist their view reflects a conservative, "free market system" approach and they label anyone who disagrees with them as being un-American and anti-business.
A significant issue driving Provo campaigns in 2005 is property rights.


Hi Stan,

Indeed it should be. It's one of the original rights in the Bill of Rights.

We should be given the benefit of the doubt in being trusted to be wise stewards of our property.

Check out this quote from George Washington:
It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.

A few slum-lords have given the landlords in general a black-eye and it is not fair to lump them all together.

Again, check the quote above. I doubt that many of you sincerely believe it and follow it. Too many of you make assumptions first and then ask questions later.

Some of the current laws deprive some of their liberty because the possibility exists for them to abuse it.

Stan Lockhart wrote:

A few facts might be helpful. Provo's own George Sutherland, perhaps the most conservative justice in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court and a founder of the Utah County Republican Party had a different viewpoint. He supported protecting the rights of all property owners by casting the deciding yes vote in America's landmark zoning case. Simply put, our right is to own property. Those who today make an argument against zoning laws -- the right to do with their land as they please no matter the consequences -- may really be libertarians masquerading as conservatives.



Stan, I thought you'd stay above the rhetoric. First off, I'm not a libertarian and neither is ProvoCitizens.net. I'm a conservative though unaffiliated. I hate group-think and I think the party system, though it has benefits, contributes too much to a lemming-like group-think -- they have only a minority of free thinkers who can make a decision without going on personality/popularity contests. See George Washington again for what he said about "the spirit of party" and "factions".

Calling us "libertarians" is a tired tactic of those that can not stand on the strength of their ideas. While it might be accurate to say that some in the city are, personally I don't know any, and so when I hear some being called that I see that it's usually name-calling instead of any substantive argument.

I have not heard anyone claim they can do whatever they want with their property no matter what the consequences. Stop the FUD.

Secondly, there is a significant difference between what Sutherland ruled on zoning and what zoning has now become today -- a difference in the amount of micro-managing control. Please read it here.

Stan Lockhart wrote:

A simple slogan clarifies the issue: My property rights end where yours begin.

So where do candidates who are backed by these developers stand?

Dave Bailey says that he wants to protect neighborhoods while at the same time make it easier for developers. One small problem: one is the opposite of the other.


First off, I do not support Dave Bailey. (i'm probably doing a write-in candidate.)
Secondly, they can be balanced and compromise -- it doesn't have to be either or.

Stan Lockhart wrote:

Mark Sumsion can't say he will let the free market work (i.e. approve most development applications) and then later complain about traffic (his top issue). Those who support any development at any cost as well as solving traffic problems can't get around this fact: one is caused by the other.


Did you get the details? You can't approve a condo/apartment development unless there is adequate parking for it. I haven't heard him say anything against that. It's only reasonable. I see no controversy over this one except for a few greedy developers who don't represent the average one, IMHO.

Stan Lockhart wrote:

The actual building blocks in a pro-business foundation are low taxation and reasonable regulation. Therefore, Provo developers who complain it is difficult to build apartments in single-family neighborhoods are simply not justified in labeling candidates who they oppose as being unqualified and anti-business.


I haven't heard of any developers wanting to buy homes in a single-family neighborhood and turn them into condos/apartment complexes.
Can you give a few examples please?

Stan Lockhart wrote:

Property rights are critically important. Unfortunately, those cloaking themselves in the property rights mantle this election season are disguising the fact that they are really special interest groups who want uncontrolled and unaccountable development. They falsely claim to represent you and what's best for Provo.

I urge you to look beyond glossy campaign rhetoric. Provo voters deserve facts, not misinformation.

Stan Lockhart is a former member of the Provo Municipal Council.


First off, ProvoCitizens.net is a watchdog group for everybody. We have people from all sides of the issue on our mailing list. Ask your neighbor Dave and Melanie up in Provost.

We do not want uncontrolled/unaccountable development. We are not funded by anybody except a few small donations from citizens -- Provo residents -- like yourself. There's currently a whopping $75.00 in our bank account.

We are a true grassroots group.

Stan, I understood the issue now more clearly since getting involved back in 2002.

It's about parents achieving worthy goals for their children:
1. the family is the most important unit of society.
2. nice neighborhoods with kids for their kids to play with.
3. home prices not-inflated but reasonable so that other families can afford to move into the neighborhood.
4. get some landlords to better take care of their property -- slumlords.
5. fix street parking problems
6. fix noise problems -- extremely rare. just compare Provo to other college towns if you want to say noise problems are widespread or frequent.

I sincerely support all of these goals.

Now, what means are we going to use to achieve these ends?

Do any means justify the ends?

That is really what it boils down to -- do the means justify the ends?

Does taking away the property rights of some -- single homeowners and retirees who live in Provo and rent out a 2nd home -- does the means of taking away their property rights justify the ends of achieving our worthy goals? No! Currently, they are not fair and balanced.

That's all we're asking for -- is some balance.
I know there are some out-of-control greedy developers but you've got to see this issue of fairness from my point of view and others that I mentioned -- single homeowners and retirees renting out a 2nd home.

When we will be listened to and given a compromise that is fair for all?

I believe that Paul Warner and Adam Clark will best help us to find a compromise that will be as fair as possible to all instead of letting parents take away some of the rights of their single neighbors.

Please, somebody, like yourself or Cindy, please meet with us sometime to get to know us as real people who want to live in Provo for a long time.

Please forgive me if I have offended in the past.
This isn't personal for me but is all about who has the best ideas and solutions that are respectful and fair to all.

Most sincerely,

Roger L. Brown
Chairman, http://ProvoCitizens.net
356-1032

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