"Why the Assault?" - Book Review By Jigs Gardner (PRFA, June 2008)
Government Pirates: The Assault on Private Property Rights
And How We Can Fight It by Don Corace (Harper Collins, 288
pp., $14.95 paper)
"Impact Fees Are Becoming a Popular Tool of Tax-strapped
- News Brief, PRFA, Nov. 2007
"Manhattan Real Estate Investor Funds Property
Rights Ballot Measures in Several States" - News Brief, PRFA, December 2006
"Speech to Watauga County Board of Commissioners" - By Madeline K. Carter, March 2006 (Printed by Permission)
This eloquent little speech confronts the commissioners of
Watauga County, North Carolina, with using psychologically controlled
Delphi Technique at community meetings to lock out the electorate
from the constitutional process.
Law Accumulates Implementing the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act" - PRFA News
Brief, March 2005
Churches and synagogues are bucking zoning and eminent domain
by using the new federal law known as RLUIPA to defend their
right to build edifices for worship and religious education and
to practice their religion in various locations.
Samples of Techniques Used to Oppose Restrictive
Land Use Laws:
Letter - By Carol W. LaGrasse, May 20, 2004
This letter was mailed to every
household with a Stony Creek address or post office box a few
days before the public hearing that the Town Board held about
a proposed "Law to Regulate
the Storage and Maintenance of Junk Motor Vehicles."
As a result of the letter, the town hall was so packed that all
seats were filled and people crowded around the back and sides
of the room. Mostly new, more well-to-do people in this small
town said that they wanted the law, but the vast majority of
the people were offended. Many stated their opposition with eloquence.
Rules for You" - Poem
by Carol W. LaGrasse, May 23,2004
Carol LaGrasse read this poem aloud
at the public hearing held by the Stony Creek Town Board for
their unwanted proposed "Junk"
law designed to control unlicensed vehicles that the people keep
for a multitude of reasons.
Historic District Abolished in Monterey, Virginia" - By Leo M. Schwartz (Virginia Land Rights Coalition,
January 15, 2003)
After a successful political battle led by property rights
activists, the Monterey Town Council voted on December 19, 2002
to abolish the town's historic district, one of 200 local
districts in Virginia. The spokesman for the Virginia Department
of Historic Resources in Richmond, commented, "Our
department is not aware of any other local government in Virginia
that has dissolved its historic district."
Subsidized Housing Keeps the Poor Down" Book review
by Carol W. LaGrasse, April 9, 2005
Review of: America's Trillion-Dollar Housing Mistake-The
Failure of American Housing Policy
By Howard Husock (Ivan R. Dee, Chicago 2003)
Utah Property Rights Association, Inc. is organized
Robert J. Fisher, executive director, announced the formation
of the non-profit Utah Property Rights
Association based in Murray, Utah. They are organizing for zoning
and planning hearings, as well as other important property rights
issues. Robert Fisher extends a hearty welcome to new members.
Pacific Legal Foundation
(litigates important private
property rights cases)
& web site
(national organization of automobile hobbyists,
also helps private property owners against zoning)
Oregon Council of Motor Vehicle
(organization of Oregon
Positions on Property,
Vol 3, No. 2 "New
Crimes, New Power:
Zoning & Building Codes"
(PRFA, May 1996)
A Wake-Up CallOrganizing for Success, Proceedings of the Fifth Annual New York Conference
on Private Property Rights, edited by Carol W. LaGrasse,
Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.
National leaders and experts reveal essentials about reaching
your representative, exposing government to the light of day,
effective media work, web outreach, cable television, the successful
newsletter, keeping a group together, building coalitions, and
fund-raisingall in the context of defending freedom.
"Anderson Township Zoning Dispute: Toilet Planters are the
new 'Look and Feel' of Anderson Township!" - Allen and Robin
Sutton, May 2006
A toilet planter protest against the township
zoning, which stopped their construction of a privacy fence that
was needed because Anderson Township, Ohio, cut away their side
and front lawns for new sidewalks.
Houston Property Rights Association
James Bovard, Freedom
in Chains (St. Martin's Press, 1999)
James Bovard, Lost
Rights (St. Martin's Press, New York, 1994)
Bernard H. Siegan,
Property and FreedomThe Constitution, The Courts, and
land-Use Regulation (Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick
Bernard H. Siegan,
Land Use Without Zoning - (Bartholdi & Lazarus, Houston,
- "Fight the
Good Fight for Private Property Rights" - By Don Corace,
Real Estate Developer and Author, Naples, Florida; Presented
at Twelfth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights
(PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 18, 2008)
The assault on private property rights includes eminent domain
abuse like that of Susette Kelo for private development, and
regulatory takings where the property owner receives zero compensation.
Ocie Mills of Florida was the first man to go to federal prison
for a wetland violation, singled out by the Corps of Engineers
because he spoke out. In Pompano Beach, Florida, two men who
had all their permits to build a hotel were stopped with 31 years
by their NIMBY neighbors who didn't want their ocean view
obstructed. One brother, a millionaire, lost everything, and
had a stroke. Join together, put on your gloves, and fight abuses
of private property rights.
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
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.
Rights of Religious Institutions Facing Zoning and Historic Preservation"
- By Roman P. Storzer, Storzer & Greene, P.L.L.C. Washington,
D.C.; Twelfth Annual National Conference on Private Property
Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 18, 2008)
In no other area is there as much restriction on religious
exercise, a First Amendment freedom, than in the land use context,
with possibly the exception of prisoners. The federal Religious
Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, RLUIPA, targets landmarking
and land use laws. Zoning boards no longer hold all the power.
Churches, mosques and temples can go to court and get redress
under a relatively strong standard of review.
- "Free Market
Solutions to Urban Problems" - By Randal O'Toole, Bandon,
Oregon, Director - American Dream Coalition of the Independence
Institute, Senior Fellow - Cato Institute, and Senior Economist
- Thoreau Institute; Twelfth Annual National Conference on Private
Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 18, 2008)
States like Oregon that have "growth management"
laws require that an urban growth boundary be drawn around cities,
to stop growth beyond the boundary and "densify"
development within the boundary. This has driven up housing costs
and been a big factor in the housing bubble. Along with imposing
the urban growth boundary, cities build light rail lines to reduce
automobile use and thereby reduce emissions of carbon dioxide,
which is thought to be a primary cause of global warming. But
light rail is not effective either in attracting riders or reducing
carbon dioxide. Efficient cars are better at reducing emissions
per passenger mile and cheaper.
- "The Façade
of New Urbanism & the Form-Based Code" - By Lolita
Buckner Inniss, J.D., L.L.M., Associate Professor of Law, Cleveland-Marshall
School of Law, Cleveland State University, Cleveland Ohio, Twelfth
Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA,
Albany, N.Y., October 18, 2008)
Form-based code, a tool of New Urbanism, is not doing what
advocates claim. It tries to create by design what was spontaneous
over a century. The "collaborative" charette
process, ostensibly based on the "community,"
is monopolized by a small strand of people, the elite. New Urbanism
tries to recreate old urbanism, but old cities like New York
existed as a great range of neighborhood characters experienced
by different groups of people. Old urban centers were based on
wealth and inherently exclusionary. Zoning originated to protect
wealthy urban interests. Zoning contributes to the decline of
cities by excluding industrial workplaces from areas where workers
- "A Social
License to Operate in Alaska" - Edited by Kelley Hegarty,
M.C.P., Kelley Hegarty & Associates, LLC, Alaska Community
& Regional Planning Consultants, Posted by permission of
the Alaska Miners Association from the 2008 Alaska Miners Association
Handbook and Service Directory.
"No matter how compelling the mineralization, no exploration
company will be granted the permits needed to move into the development
phase of a large mine project in Alaska without first having
earned their social license to operate by neighboring communities."
The lessons in this treatise, which grew from international
experience, are applicable not solely to mining, but also to
commercial and industrial developments in rural, and even urban,
communities. Learning the landownership patterns, listening conscientiously
to local concerns, and achieving balance are some of the important
aspects of the social license to operate.
- "Plan to Win" - By
Carol W. LaGrasse (Property Rights Foundation of America®
Position Brief, April 2008)
You are faced with a challenging situation. In order to defend
private property rights, you must plan to win. Victory can only
come with a multi-front approach. First, describe your goal.
Next, objectively list all tactics that your could employ to
reach that goal. Finally select the tactics that appear feasible,
make a tentative plan, and go to work.
Your Story" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (Property Rights
Foundation of America Research Form, February 2008)
Have you been snared by local officials after you made an
application for a site plan, subdivision, or building permit?
Did they add new regulations that weren't in place when
you submitted your application? Please tell your story on this
form, which will help illustrate the failure of the current land
use and environmental review law, and may help change the law.
Code Enforcement Socks Owner of Low-cost Home" - By
Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, March 2008
The neat geodesic dome house that David Greathouse built near
Craig, Colorado, was innovative and low-cost, a possible inspiration
for construction of inexpensive houses. But that was immaterial
to building code enforcement. His small-scale geodesic dome house
was torn down in July 2007 and Mr. Greathouse moved to New Mexico,
where he constructed a new dome house using his salvaged framework,
in an area without "benefit" of code.
Business and Private Property Rights" - By Raymond J.
Keating, Chief Economist, Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Council, Washington, D.C. and Columnist, Newsday, Long
Island, New York; Eleventh Annual National Conference on Private
Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 13, 2007)
Local zoning often is a tool of special interests to force
small businesses to give up. Government uses its power of eminent
domain for economic development for well-financed entities at
the expense of small business. During the past 100 years, government
has lost respect for private property owners when developing
sports stadiums, which used to fit around private property. In
addition, it should be more recognized that intellectual private
property rights protect the interests of small businesses, not
just "big pharma."
Supreme Court's Protection of Private Property Rights: The Founders'
Dream, the Owner's Nightmare" - By Roger Pilon, J.D.,
Ph.D., Vice President for Legal Affairs and Director, Center
for Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute, Eleventh Annual National
Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October
Roger Pilon presents an overview of private property rights,
beginning with first principles, including a discussion of the
history of the founding documents, followed by the police power
and eminent domain power; then four scenarios of government restrictionsgovernment
actions that reduce the value of private property, regulation
to stop nuisance, regulatory takings, and full eminent domain;
and finally the four categories of eminent domain: transfer to
the public, transfer to a private owner for public utilities
and the like, condemnation for blight reduction, and transfer
to another private party for economic development. Highlights
of court rulings illustrate how the Progressive Era led to today's
- "Flying High without
PILOTs: Town of Brookline's Use of a Ground Lease to Thwart Property
Tax Exemption for a Charitable Non-profit" - By Arshag
A. Mazmanian, Esq. , October 1, 2007
The Town of Brookline, Massachusetts, granted a re-zoning
to accommodate a non-conforming structure proposed by a non-profit,
while the Town concurrently acquired the property for ground-leaseback
to a developer so that this entity could collect then rent on
the sublet ground lease to the non-profit. The portion of the
rent equivalent to the real estate taxes that would have been
paid if the land were both owned and occupied by a non-charitable
entity is paid by the developer to the Town. The Town thereby
evades the situation of receiving minimal revenue through PILOTs
(payment in lieu of taxes), at most, by a tax-exempt property
of Engagement"-By Carol W. LaGrasse, President, Property
Rights Foundation of America. Speech to the Ninth Annual National
Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y.,
October 22, 2005)
"First of all, fight to win. Set your goals. Speak your
issue clearly to be heard by the government and by those who
can follow you," begins Carol LaGrasse's short,
to-the-point summary of the basic, essential rules for grassroots
success in defending private property rights at every level.
Taking CompensationThe Successful Oregon Measure 37 Referendum"
- By Bill Moshofsky, President, Oregonians in Action, Tigard,
Oregon; Speech to the Ninth Annual Conference on Private Property
Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y. October 22, 2005)
The Oregon Measure 37 referendum created a solution to the
"regulatory overkill" that besets Oregon's
property owners, under arguably the strictest land use planning
regulations in the country, excessive wetlands, endangered species
and forest practice regulation. Oregonians in Action is still
fighting against government's attempt to nullify the law.
Rights, Trails, & Open Space Preservation" - By
Carol W. LaGrasse, Speech to the Comprehensive Planning Advisory
Committee, Town of Ballston, June 22, 2005
Private property rights were fundamental to the founders and
protected other rights, but a brief chronology shows that U.S.
Supreme Court rulings dealing with zoning and open space have
both eroded and protected these rights. Trails threaten private
property owners with liability and other problems, but reversionary
title is protected.
Church Settles Zoning Dispute" - By Carol W. LaGrasse
(PRFA, December 2004)
The U.S. Justice Department had joined the Hale O Kaula church
case in Wailuku, Maui, to enforce the federal Religious Land
Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. The settlement left the
law unsettled. Maui County paid $700,000 to the church, but restricted
the building, congregation size, and hours of operation.
CondemnationThe Rationale for Compensation for Regulatory
Takings" - By Henry St. John FitzGerald, Attorney at
Law, Arlington, Virginia; Speech to the Eighth Annual Conference
on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y. October 23,
The Constitution is the biggest bulwark to protect our rights,
including private property rights. Government keeps trying to
expand its power, and important cases hold its power in check.
The cases protecting property owners from regulatory takings
began in 1922 with Pennsylvania Coal. "Inverse
condemnation" is when so many land rights have been
taken away that a Fifth Amendment Taking occurs.
TitleAn E-mail Exchange" - by Carol W. LaGrasse
(PRFA, November 18 2003)
A straightforward response to an urgent inquiry from a web
site visitor imagining that he can protect his property by filing
an allodial deed. People are told that they can avoid building
restrictions and real estate taxes.
- "The Wall of Cars"
By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, May 2002)
Junkyard owner Gene Crandall stacks cars four high for one-quarter
mile along his property line, to comply with the Town of Mentz's
order to build a fence.
Click to see large photo
Kennard Walter, used by permission
Peter J. LaGrasse
Court Rejects 'Categorical' Compensation for Temporary Taking"
By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, April 27, 2002)
Justice Stevens writes that the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
took only a "temporal slice" of the property
interest by imposing lengthy building moratoria. No compensation
to landowners is required. The troublesome ruling broadly affirmed
the justice of central planning, but left open room for "ad
hoc" appeals for compensation for temporary takings.
Zoning was Defeated in Wetmore Township" - Featuring
recollections by Andy Rakiecki (Reprinted from New York Property
Rights Clearinghouse, Vol. 6, No. 1, Spring 2002)
Local citizens defending the rural lifestyle in a Pennsylvania
town in the area of the Allegheny National Forest used a townwide
referendum to get their anti-zoning message across, 399-47.
Maggie and Andy Rakiecki
Warwick Zoning Battle Ends" By Carol W. LaGrasse
(PRFA, February 2002)
Farmers give a little in dispute with urban emigres. Town
drops key parts of farm preservation plan, including "Purchase
of Development Rights" and "Open Space"
by Zoning - by Jack Down, President of Citizens Against Repressive
Zoning (C.A.R.Z.) (February 4, 2002)
Jack Down's moving summary of the roster
of people killed in recent years because of zoning enforcement.
Have Private Property RightsWhat Does This Mean?"
- Carol W. LaGrasse, speech sponsored by "Local,"
Warwick, N.Y., (PRFA, October 29, 2001)
This speech, at the invitation of local farmers and landowners,
addresses the combined threat of zoning farmland as "Open
Space" while pressuring farmers to sell conservation
easements, or PDR's (Purchase of Development Rights),
to preserve the character of the remaining farmland that suburbanites
moving into the area enjoy.
a Local Property Rights Group" - Barry Klein, President
Houston Property Rights Association, Reprinted from Proceedings
of the Fifth Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights
Sustaining the property rights association that leads the
battle to keep zoning out of Houston involves a sophisticated,
thorough knowledge of urban affairs; weekly meetings hosting
worthwhile speakers; a regular newsletter; political organizing;
and the sustenance of volunteers and funding.
Historic District" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, Letter
to Editor published in Freeman's Journal, Cooperstown, N.Y.,
May 7, 1999
Once a building is placed on the National Historic Register,
either individually or as part of a Historic District, the state's
Environmental Quality Review Act, SEQRA, mandates that every
state and local agency take into account the historic preservation
of the building when the agency receives an application for the
Against Excessive Zoning" - Thomas A. Miller,
Founding Member, Allegany Citizens Rights Committee, Allegany,
N.Y., from Proceedings of the Third Annual New York Conference
on Private Property Rights (1998)
A New Municipality" - Gary Vegliante, Mayor, Village
of Westhampton Dunes, N.Y.. from Proceedings of the Third
Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights (1998)
Group Straps Massachusetts Farm Couple" By Carol W. LaGrasse
(Reprinted from the New York Property Rights Clearinghouse,
Vol. 4, No. 2 (Spring-Summer 1997, PRFA)
Bankruptcy court appeal may be the final chapter for Marie
and Joseph Hill, an elderly couple who are being evicted from
their scenic dairy farm in South Dartmouth on Buzzard's
Bay, after losing a battle with a local preservation group, FORM.