Playing the long game |

Playing the long game

You can tell when individuals in the marketplace are betting on something by their reaction to potential government regulation.

We’ve seen this happen nationally with perceived threats to the Second Amendment during the previous administration which drove increased gun sales.

There was a time when you couldn’t purchase .22 ammunition, not because of government regulation, but because people thought there might be government regulation and they went on an ammo buying spree.

We suspect the current push by property owners to get hard zoning pinned down for projects is a response to the potential that county government will turn against them in the next year.

Sometimes attempts to control what property owners do with their property result in the opposite reaction. One of the busiest building eras in Douglas County was at the turn of the century, when the Sustainable Growth Initiative was under way. One could argue that SGI was in response to the building boom. However, the fact that building exceeded the demand as indicated by Census numbers argues against that.

There’s an assumption that property owners will just sit there while the government does what it will. We’ve seen two lawsuits in a couple of weeks that indicates the opposite.

Master plan and zoning changes vest new property rights and to expect the owners of that property to sit still while someone seeks to change that entitlement is unrealistic to say the least.

And while ordinances may be overturned by petitions or lawsuits, master plan and zoning changes may not, and all those require is a majority of the Board of Commissioners.

The question for subsequent boards is whether those changes may be revoked without owners invoking the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. If there’s money to be made, we can guarantee there will be challenges.