MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

April 24, 2014

HB 2807 could have chilling effect

House Bill 2807 has the potential to have a disastrous effect on cities throughout Oklahoma.

The bill was designed to provide protection for private property rights.

However, municipal officials say the legislation, if passed into law, would have a “chilling impact on state and local government actions.”

The bill strictly prohibits the “unrestricted right of use, right of control, right of enjoyment and right of disposal of purchased or deeded private property,” said Muskogee City Attorney Roy Tucker.

Tucker said the bill, in its current form, “would create an opposing effect on community protection by prohibiting any enforcement of zoning regulations, building, fire codes and the like.”

Tucker said, and we agree, that the bill had a laudable goal on its face.

We need to respect the property rights of private citizens.

That’s vital.

But this bill sounds like it would create circumstances where cities are unable to legally enforce zoning regulations and building and fire codes.

Building and fire codes are a major safety issue. One of government’s main jobs is to protect its citizens. Allowing private property owners to build in any fashion they want would create safety issues.

Allowing private property owners to ignore zoning regulations will drive down property values. Imagine your neighbor putting in a chicken farm next door.

The rights of private property owners are important, but this bill misses its mark.

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