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Site Guide
An alphabetical listing of articles and information relating to
private property rights issues.

Common Sense Perspectives by Nate Dickinson

- Index page of articles written by Nate Dickinson, a wildlife biologist.
"National & International Land Use Planning"
- Peyton Knight, Director of Environmental & Regulatory Affairs, The National Center for Public Policy Research, Washington, D.C., Eleventh Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 13, 2007)
A National Heritage Area facilitates national land use planning as a preservation-driven congressional pork-barrel designation created in conjunction with the National Park Service and private interest groups to influence decisions over local land use to preserve natural, historical, cultural, educational, scenic, and recreational resources. UNESCO World Heritage Site designations are an international tool to push land use restrictions on the sites and land surrounding them.
"National Heritage Areas - Testimony by Carol W. LaGrasse Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources , March 30, 2004"
The National Heritage Area program is intended to give the National Park Service national land use control. "Partnerships" with local government and non-profits, and associated trails, are the key. (This is the short testimony version presented orally. Notes contain further details.)
National Heritage Corridors - From an Adirondack Viewpoint
- by Carol W. LaGrasse, from Positions on Property, Vol. 1, No. 2, Supplement (PRFA, May 1994).
National Historic Districts - Letter to National Parks Subcommittee Chairman Devin Nunes
From Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA April 19, 2005
The Glimmerglass Heritage National Register Historic District illustrates the need to honestly warn property owners of the regulatory impact of listing on the National Historic Register and the importance of requiring individual property owner consent.
"National Historic Register Challenges Private Property Rights—Worth Commenting"
- By Carol W. LaGrasse, Reprinted from the New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Spring 2005).
Formal listing on the National Historic Register is deceptively portrayed by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation as non-regulatory, but, once the designation is in place, the agency uses the weight of its office to enforce the designation when a building or zoning permit application is made.
The National Park Service Land Acquisition Apparatus & Land Use Control Campaigns
- Chart.

National Park Service - National

 - Index page of information about the National Park Service.
National Park Service, Sen. Jeffords Push International Champlain Heritage Corridor
- Update, reprinted from the New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, Vol. 5 No. 2 (Fall 2001).
National Park Service Vision
The Heart of Long-Term Preservationist Goals
- Chart.
"National Parks of Alaska - Testimony Before U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Committee on Government Reform"
- By Rick Kenyon of Glennallen, Alaska (presented at the August 14, 2006 Hearing - Committee on Government Reform, Anchorage, Alaska)
For three decades, the National Park Service has run amok, mistreating inholders within the Alaskan National Parks: — forcing almost all the historic placer miners to give up their claims, contrary to ANILCA, denying property owners access to their homes, causing them to lose their property, punishing them for their wilderness way of life, and dragging them into federal court on trumped-up charges. The Service provides its own employees exclusive, luxurious wilderness accommodations.
"A National Policy to Protect Private Property Rights"
-By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, November 16, 2004)
The Endangered Species Act should not be re-authorized unless full protection for private property rights is provided. Presentation points to the National Endangered Species Act Reform Coalition (NESARC) meeting, American Farm Bureau Federation Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
"National Property Rights Ombudsman Legislation"
- By Craig M. Call, Utah State Property Rights Ombudsman Speech to the Ninth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 22, 2005)
The Utah Property Rights Ombudsman has successfully acted as a neutral third party to make sure that people have straight answers to the questions that they face in land use and eminent domain situations involving state and local government. "I try to make the law work better for individuals who call me," said Mr. Call. U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch has proposed legislation for a federal property rights ombudsman within the Department of Transportation.
"National Wildlife Federation Admits Piracy and Pays $350,000 For Copyright Infringement" News Release - March 2, 2005
The National Wildlife Federation has admitted to pirating the copyrighted work, The First Forest, by children's book author John Gile and has paid $350,000.00 to terminate civil copyright litigation in Federal Court.
"National Wildlife Refuge Draft Bill Threatens Trenton, NJ, Area"
- By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, February 2, 2004)
Rep. Christopher H. Smith has a draft bill to create a National Wildlife Refuge for the Hamilton-Trenton Marsh and Crosswicks Creek. Sportsmen, boaters, and property owners are angry, because a lock-out except for biologists, birders, canoers, and hikers would displace the established uses of the area.
"Nationalization of Land—A Wake-Up Call"
- by Nate Dickinson, Wildlife Biologist (PRFA, Aug. 15, 2002)
"Environmental Policy" is the mantra for nationalization of land in Britain and the U.S.
 "The Nature Conservancy is Quietly Acquiring 'The Bob' for the State"
- (Reprinted from the New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, PRFA, Summer 2002)
The Twenty-first Century Commission's 1990 wilderness plan was defeated by locals, but land acquisition goals are fast being executed.
"New Land Designation Threatens Northern New Jersey Communities"
- By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, December 8, 2003)
The New Jersey delegation maneuvered the "Highlands Stewardship Act," with $110 million for land acquisition, into the "Healthy Forest Restoration Act," the bill that Western states ardently sought to reduce the risk of catastrophic forest fires, but the addition was stripped in conference.
"New Math for the USFS and the NPS: Visitor Days"
- By Don Fife (January 2002).
"New Wave of UNESCO World Heritage Sites Proposed"
Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA Position Brief, June 2007)
This spring, the National Park Service announced that 36 locations in the United States have been proposed for UNESCO World Heritage Sites, adding to the twenty that already are designated in this country. Such international recognition potentially threatens private property rights because preservationists could exploit the designation to stop the use of land in the region just beyond a site's borders.

New York Citizens Strategies for Defending Private Property Rights 

 - Index page of information about New York citizen's strategies foe defending private property rights.
New York City Acquires More Catskill Watershed Lands
- News Brief - Fall 2000.
"NY City DEC Intimidates Owners of Access Across City Watershed Property."
- News Brief - Summer 2002.
New York City Watershed
- Update February 2001.

New York City Watershed

 - Index page of information about the New York City Catskill Watershed.
"New York City Watershed Rules"
— Adele Aguirre, Carmel, N.Y., from Proceedings of the Third Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA 1998)
The personal story of how Tai and Adele Aguirre endured the harassment of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) walking on their property, staring through their windows, bringing a lawsuit to their door "with armbands and everything, guns," coming back to test their septic system every day but finding nothing wrong, and the rescue of the Aguirres by Atlantic Legal Foundation.
New York Farmers Win "Right to Farm" Victory
Bulletin: October 2001 - Farm Worker Housing Exempted from Local Zoning
"New York is First - In Taxes"
- By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, April 30, 2004
New York State again has the highest taxes of any state. High taxes and hostile regulations have been driving businesses and residents out of New York for years. Real estate taxes are now critical because of the State's custom of passing down half the cost of Medicaid to localities and property owners.
New York's Arbitrary and Excessive Environmental
Regulation of Private Land and Resources
- Observations and Recommendations for Reform.
New York's Natural Heritage Program
- DEC and The Nature Conservancy appraise endangered, threatened and rare species on government and private land.
"New York Property Rights Directions"
-Speech by Carol W. LaGrasse, Cato Institute Conference-"Property Rights on the March: Where from Here," December 1, 2006, Washington, D.C.
An overview of where property rights stand in New York, what the directions are, and where the work for our cause has been effective: focusing on the battle to keep land in private hands, holding off extreme land-use regulation, the issue of conservation easements, regional preservationist land-use battles, ubiquitous zoning conflicts; and eminent domain.
"New York State Assembly Passes More Stringent Wetlands Rules"
- Reprinted from N.Y. Property Rights Clearinghouse,
Vol. I, No. 4 (PRFA, Fall 2004)
"NY State Court of Appeals Favors Applicants for Variances"
- By Carol W. LaGrasse (Reprinted from New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, Summer 2003)
The state's highest court ruled on July 2, 2003 that it is not necessary for an applicant for a variance to show "practical difficulty" or "unnecessary harship," because the state law requiring that the benefit to the applicant be weighed against the detriment to the health, safety and welfare of the community, and other factors, preempts local law establishing stricter standards.
"NY State Dept. Environmental Conservation First Quarterly Report to the Court pursuant to Consent Decree - Jan. 4, 2002"
This 5-page report summarizes the status of DEC's commitments made in the consent decree in the Galusha lawsuit for handicapped access to the State Forest Preserve.
New York State: Eliminate Timber Theft by Restricting Land Use
- Commission on Rural Resources Backs Senate Bills to Help Landowners and Model Local Law to Make Life Difficult, Environmental Regulation of Timber Harvesting is The Answer. By Carol W. LaGrasse (March 2002).
"New York State Eminent Domain Reform Enacted"
- By Carol W. LaGrasse, New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, Fall 2004
Unanimously passed bi-partisan law shepherded by Democratic Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky requires individual notice to property owners facing condemnation. Signed by Gov. Pataki Sept. 14, 2004.
"New York State Legislative Reform"
- By Jim Malatras, Legislative Director, Office of Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, New York State Assembly; Speech to the Ninth Annual Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y. October 22, 2005)
Jim Malatras discusses key problems with New York's eminent domain process, the role of public authorities in eminent domain, and compares the approach of Assemblyman Brodsky with others in the context of the Kelo v. New London Supreme Court Decision.
"New York State Open Space Conservation Plan — Social-engineering Bureaucrats and Their Insatiable Appetites and Packrat Mentalities"
- By Nate Dickinson, Wildlife Biologist (PRFA, October 3, 2002)
The joint land conservation plan just issued by the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation "leads thinking readers to believe that they are confronted with a blueprint for the progressive nationalization of all open space and other choice real estate in the State of New York."
New York State Property Owners - Rally for Protection of Rights
- Press Release: October 16, 1995.
New York State Senate Bill S.7192
- Reform of Eminent Domain Notification, April 15, 2002.
"New York's Top Court Upholds Town's Right to Impose Conservation Easement"
- By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, January 2005
Paul and Janet Smith lost their challenge in the New York State Court of Appeals to the conservation easement imposed by the Town of Mendon. But the scathing dissents in the 4-3 decision reasoned that the imposition was arbitrary and capricious, and that it was an unconstitutional "taking."
"Ninth Circuit Court Sets Precedent for Science in Landmark ESA Case"
- Press Release, House Resources Committee, February 25, 2004:
The Pacific Legal Foundation won a victory in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on February 24 over the National Marine Fisheries Service, which was illegally invoking the Endangered Species Act by keeping fish counts artificially low by counting only naturally spawned, but not hatchery raised, genetically identical salmon.
"The Noblest Triumph—Private Property, The Historical Route to Prosperity
- by Tom Bethell, Senior Editor, The American Spectator, Speech at the Sixth Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, November 16, 2002)
Private property has been neglected by economists, but is the logical starting point of economic analysis. Mr. Bethell points to the role of private property in the development of Western civilization, contrasting it with the failed one-hundred year "experiment" in Communism.
No Exit—Terrorist Attacks Display Irony of Government Building Inspections
- Bare Reality of Protection of Public Health, Safety and Welfare, reprinted from the New York property Rights Clearinghouse, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Fall 2001).
"No-Growth Zoning"
- By John S. Marwell, Esq., Shamberg Marwell Davis & Hollis, Mt. Kisco, New York, Twelfth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 18, 2008)
The moratorium is the ultimate no-growth zoning tool, during which a town can institute new planning and zoning requirements, even after an applicant has filed for a permit. Ever-increasing impositions include no use of land said to be wetland, wetland setbacks, steep slopes, viewsheds, even exposed rock outcroppings. Now, "environmental subtractions" can remove these from density computations. Organizing and education to expose the junk science behind new rules is essential. The Vested Rights Bill in the New York State Legislature would protect property owners who have submitted applications from a moratorium and new rules.
"The 'No Net Gain in Government Lands' Proposal—An Evaluation"
- The Perennial "No Net Gain" rallying cry is appealing, but this idea has such important pitfalls that the property rights movement ought to reject it. By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA Briefing Paper, March 16, 1999)
North Country National Scenic Trail - Adirondack Segment - E-mailed response to Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, from Thomas L. Gilbert, Superintendent, Ice Age & North Country National Scenic Trail, Madison, Wisconsin, February 19, 2008
- This e-mail discusses whether the state or local government, or the National Park Service would own the Adirondack segment of the North Country trail, initially and ultimately; what the width of the land that is owned or managed for the trial will be; and what the width of the functional walking trail that is cleared and maintained will be.
North Country National Scenic Trail - Letter from Thomas L. Gilbert, Superintendent, Ice Age & North Country National Scenic Trails, Madison, Wisconsin, to Peter Frank, Division Chief, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, January 4, 2008
- Official Park Service comment on the Draft Adirondack Park Trail Plan for the North Country National Scenic Trail. A particular point that needed clarifying, was that the 47 miles of "New Trail" that will need to be built is in addition to the 27 miles of "Temporary Corridor." These two categories total 74 miles in addition to the 70 miles of "Existing Trail" (including "herd paths"). A future Memorandum of Understanding is proposed, which would cover acquisitions, administrative policy, marking the trail, shared-use trails (to ultimately be hiking-only), and compatibility with range of existing landowners and landscapes.
The Northern Forest Lands Campaign
- Charts.

Northern Forest Lands

 - Index page of information about the Northern Forest Lands.
"Notice for Leave to Appeal with Memorandum in Support"
- Bath Petroleum Storage, et al., v. New York State DEC, et al., New York State Court of Appeals (Civil Appeal No. 01-02144, Nov. 4, 2002)
Bath Petroleum Storage, Inc. and E.I.L. Petroleum, Inc. (BPSI) applied for a renewal of its State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit that had been in effect for 24 years. DEC issued a number of notices of incomplete application that sought addition information. In many cases, however, the information sought was not new; rather DEC demanded that BPSI change its answers to particular questions contained in the application. Despite numerous supplemental submissions, DEC denied the application on the basis that it was incomplete. On appeal, the administrative law judge determined that BPSI was not entitled to a hearing, which was confirmed by the DEC deputy commissioner. However, upon BPSI's filing of an Article 78 proceeding, Livingston County Supreme Court Judge Raymond E. Cornelius made three clear points in favor of BPSI, the final point being that DEC's reliance on its completeness determination to deny the permit application and thereby block BPSI from ever challenging DEC's actions by obtaining a hearing was arbitrary and capricious. Ignoring the plain meaning of the statutes and regulations, as well as the principles of interpretation established by the court, the Appellate Division Fourth Department reversed Judge Cornelius's ruling in a two-paragraph summary opinion stating that its inquiry was limited to determining whether DEC had articulated a rational basis for its decision, without ever considering Judge Cornelius's statutory/regulatory findings.BPSI asks the Court of Appeals to consider whether the DEC may ignore the plain, unambiguous language of a carefully crafted regulatory scheme in exercising its discretionary powers and do so in a manner that effectively rewrites the unambiguous statutes.
"Notice of Motion of the New York Propane Gas Association for Leave to Submit Amicus Curiae Memorandum in Support of Motion for Leave to Appeal"
- Bath Petroleum Storage, Inc., et al., v. New York State DEC, et al., New York State Court of Appeals (Civil Appeal No. 01-02144, Nov. 22, 2002)
The Notice points out that the case presents many legal and policy issues of state, regional, and national concern due to Bath Petroleum's contribution and importance to propane gas supply levels in New York State and the northeast.
"A Novice's Reaction to a Smart Growth Discussion"
- By Nate Dickinson, Wildlife Biologist (PRFA, December 12, 2003
Review of "Outsmarting Smart Growth - Population Growth, Immigration, and the Problem of Sprawl" by Beck, Kolankiewicz, and Camarota (Center for Immigration Studies, 2003). Dickinson questions the assumptions underlying the report, and asks whether planners are interested in changing the complexion of a free society. Statistics for agricultural acreage show that the U.S. A. is getting wilder, contrary to the report's drift. He states that the report's immigration statistics prove the need to rethink immigration policy. Illegal immigration must be simply halted.

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