Property Rights Foundation of America®

News Brief - Summer 2004:

Assemblyman Prentiss Introduces Bill to Protect Property Owners from Stealth Rules

One of the worst things that can happen to a property owner is that after receiving a local building permit and completing a house, the owner is visited by a state or federal official to issue a violation for rules that the property owner had never heard of. Property owners in New York State face many unfamiliar sources of regulation on the state and federal levels— wetlands rules, historical and archeological protection rules, habitat rules, wild and scenic river rules, scenic byway rules, Adirondack Park Agency rules, Long Island Pine Barrens rules, New York City rules controlling land use in the watershed for its upstate reservoirs, federal watershed rules enforced by various interstate commissions such as the Susquehanna, and other powerful federal and state agencies' rules. There is currently no clearinghouse where the property owner can even find out how many agencies could potentially affect the project under consideration. Assemblyman Prentiss's "Homeowner's Detrimental Reliance Protection Act (A.10445), which was introduced during April, would take a significant step toward eliminating uncertainty for property owners by requiring that when an inquirer asks for building permit information the local building department give the person a written notice that the Governor's Office of Regulatory Reform (GORR) can provide a free list of all agencies potentially having jurisdiction over the project. The bill would require GORR to develop an official list of agencies and keep the list updated and immediately available to property owners upon request.

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