Goldwater Hits Flagstaff With $23 Million Bill For Violating Property Rights

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By Christina Sandefur of the Goldwater Institute

Representing the owners of more than 50 properties, the Goldwater Institute has filed over $23 million in claims against the city of Flagstaff, Arizona, over an ordinance that went into effect in March that deprives residents of their property rights. That could be just the tip of the iceberg, as thousands more may have claims under state law.

In March, Flagstaff adopted a High Occupancy Housing Plan supposedly designed to address an increase in student housing. In actuality, the plan imposes sweeping regulations that deprive a wide variety of property owners, including families and small businesses, of their right to decide what to do with their land.

Flagstaff’s ordinance comes nearly two decades after the infamous Kelo v. New London U.S. Supreme Court decision of 2005, in which the Court gave state officials virtually carte blanche to seize private property for whatever reasons politicians consider worthwhile. But Arizona voters rejected the Court’s vast expansion of government power by adopting a ballot measure that creates some of the strongest protections for home and business owners in the country. Under Arizona’s Private Property Rights Protection Act (known as Prop 207), government must pay people whenever it takes away their right to use their property and thereby diminishes its value…

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