Letters to the Editor

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COUNTY: Where was notice of property takings?

Letter by John Clark, Lake Tapps on Oct. 9, 2013 at 12:02 pm with No Comments »
October 9, 2013 12:57 pm

What happened to transparent government? The only way a property owner would know their shoreline setbacks are being moved from 50 feet to 75 or possibly as much as 150 feet would be by word of mouth from their neighbor.

There have been hearings at the Pierce County Council and the Planning Commission. The process is almost complete, and final “mutual agreement” being submitted to the Department of Ecology will reduce all waterfront property owners’ rights to their land by 25 feet to as much as 150 feet of their current setback.

How did this happen without property waterfront property owners being notified? Pierce County has the address of every waterfront property in the county. It sends them a tax bill annually. Why were they not notified?

Developers would be required to notify any surrounding property owner if they planned to do anything to land that would impact them. The only notice that the state and county were taking rights from the use of private property was notice of Planning Commission agendas and Pierce County committee and council agendas.

The average citizen doesn’t get up every day and say, “Hey, I think I’ll check in at the county building today and see what hearings may be coming up on land use.”

The state of Washington and Pierce County owe property owners the right to know when they are discussing issues that will directly impact their land use and in many cases the monetary value of their property.

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