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Flagstaff Waives Land Use Law For Certain Property Owners

October 27, 2021

By Corinne Murdock |

Flagstaff City Council voted last Tuesday to waive its land use restriction for property owners who submitted around $50 million in legal claims under the Arizona Private Property Rights Protection Act.

The Goldwater Institute submitted a demand letter on behalf of property owners in July. At the time, claims amounted to over $23 million for over 50 property owners.

Under the city’s High Occupancy Housing (HOH) Plan, residential and mixed-use properties faced restrictions such as a limit on the density and number of bedrooms and units, and additional requirements for automobile and bicycle parking standards. The HOH Plan would affect buildings with more than 75 bedrooms or 30 units per acre in dormitory or apartment-style units.

In part, the Private Property Rights Protection Act, or Prop 207, requires government to compensate property owners for any land use laws that restrict the right to “use, divide, sell, or possess” a property and thereby reduce its fair market value.

“If the existing rights to use, divide, sell or possess private real property are reduced by the enactment or applicability of any land use law enacted after the date the property is transferred to the owner and such action reduces the fair market value of the property the owner is entitled to just compensation from this state or the political subdivision of this state that enacted the land use law.

Under Prop 207, individuals that believe a land use law impacts their property’s fair market value must submit a demand letter to the government who enacted the law. The government must then choose to either compensate the property owner, waive the law for that property, or amend the law entirely.

Prop 207 also doubles down on private property protections within the state and federal constitutions, adding further measures to define and restrict eminent domain.

The Goldwater Institute confirmed with AZ Free News that even more property owners have contacted them about claims.

This Tuesday, the Flagstaff City Council discussed the HOH Plan again during a work session. A presentation on the subject noted that there were 87 Prop 207 claims in all, totaling over $50 million. In reviewing the plan, the presentation asked the council if it would like to maintain the plan, modify certain aspects of it, or scrap it entirely.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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