Private property — rezoning bill takes lopsided loss in the House

Would have changed requirements for protesting zone change

RLGR Staff

A House bill purported to protect private property owners from zoning changes that could affect the value of their property has been defeated 41-18.

The measure sought to change current law that defines how a legal protest brought by neighboring property owners is defined. The proposed change would have made it far easier for small property owners to put a development project into a legal protest situation. A legal protest makes a zoning case more difficult because it requires a full 75 percent vote of a city council as opposed to just a typical majority vote to approve a development.

Opponents of the legislation said the bill restricts private property rights and gives property owner unrelated to a proposed zoning change more control over what they could do with their own land.

Land use attorney Jordan Rose, founder and president of Rose Law Group, said, “We didn’t see any reason for this bill. Any rezoning in Arizona already requires a vote of the majority of the elected officials, which is the ultimate check to be sure a property owner is doing something that will also be good for the overall community.”

The House Government Committee had advanced the measure (7-3-1), where the bill’s sponsor, Rep. John Kavanagh (R-23), said the legislation raises bar for developers and protects homeowners.

There was some back and forth at the committee hearing but no consensus on who has the advantage in rezoning disputes, property owners or government.

The bill reached its final vote with no floor statements or debate during two previous votes.

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