Eminent Domain

4 Dec

Check out this link: http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-county-news/ci_19463709?source=most_viewed

This is Boulder, not Boulder County (the focus of this blog). The county says they have never used eminent domain and never will. Probably because 70% of the land in the county is already “public” land, they don’t need to take anymore away! But there is always a first time … and with their current attitude of not giving a “you know what” about our property rights, we believe it isn’t far away …

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Statutory County

2 Dec
Boulder County is a statutory county. In practical terms, what this means to you as a property and home owner is that the county does not and is really not authorized to actively look for code violations (no building permits, etc.). All they can really do is respond to complaints from county residents. In other words, keep good relationships with your neighbors when you can! This has significant, obvious ramifications but we will go into more details about this later!

Rounding Up Residents and Moving Them to Cities

1 Dec

County residents speculate as to why county building codes are so much more stringent than city codes in Boulder County. At one meeting, a person proposed that UN Agenda 21 essentially states that people should be “encouraged” to live in cities rather than counties. Boulder County has officially adopted the UN Agenda in their policy making. Still, we had doubts that this is the commissioners motivation BUT this article in National Geographic, The City Solution, makes us wonder if this might have something to do with their unreasonably restrictive building codes. THEY REALLY DON’T WANT US HERE and may be trying to run us out! We won’t spend too much time “speculating” as to their motivation – our time is best spent helping you learn and avoid this freedom voiding codes, but we just had to say …

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/12/city-solutions/kunzig-text

125% Rule Assistance – making barn footage not count!

25 Nov

If you are aware of the 125% rule (and if you aren’t, read the previous post or check out the Code Awareness category), one of the things that makes adding square footage to one’s property difficult is the fact that barn space is considered livable square footage and is subtracted from the space you can add to your property UNLESS … and this is a big UNLESS … it is purely agricultural. Therefore, make your barn agricultural. Clean out the crap, put it into storage. Add feed and a few animals (there are codes as to the number of animals  you can have). This way, the barn square footage cannot be used against you when calculating how many square feet you can add to your residence!

125% Rule

25 Nov
One of the real offenders to personal property rights is the 125% rule. The 125% rule says that you can only increase the square footage of your home by enough space so that the final square footage is no more than 125% of the median square footage in your official neighborhood. If your home is already larger than the median square footage, you are sol (shit out of luck). You aren’t allowed to add any net square footage to your property. Unfortunately, if you have any structures not connected to your primary residents such as a barn, that square footage is included in the calculations of your total square footage. An example: the median square footage of a house in our neighborhood is 2744 square foot. Therefore, I can add enough square footage to bring my 1936 square foot house to 3429 square feet, about a 1377 square foot increase. We have a 340 square foot barn, so now we can add only 1037 square feet, barely a second floor that cover 1/2 the original footprint of the house. Our neighbors have a 1000 square foot barn with a house about the same size as our’s. This means that unless they deconstruct their barn, they can add only 300 – 400 square feet! One of the county’s goals is to “maintain the rural nature of the county”. How does suggesting someone deconstruct a barn “maintain the rural nature of the county”? With as much open space as the county has, allowing people to build their dream house (within reason) wont be detrimental to that goal and allows personal property rights every American should have. (The houses described above are on 1/2 – 1 acre lots). But there are ways around this … see Clever Solutions section!

Non Partisan Issue

20 Nov

The issues addressed in this blog are, believe it or not, not partisan. Democrats, Republicans, Liberals, Conservatives, and on and on – just care about their property rights. It turns out, Boulder County isn’t unique in property rights being abused – this is a national issue. A friend in Eugene, Oregon tells me the same thing is going on there … and after years, there has been success in protecting property rights AND that the issue there is also the same! My friend writes me that “… conservative, liberals, progressives, even kids-who-wear-their-baseball-cap backwards have found mutual ground on these issues.”

Additional information can be found at www.freedomadvocates.org. You may or may not agree with all this information, but it address issues will effect you all in unincorporated Boulder County.

Longmont Times-Call Article

20 Nov

http://www.timescall.com/news/longmont-local-news/ci_19375194

Unintended Consequences

19 Nov
Many of the unincorporated areas of Boulder County need repair. The houses are getting older and they are ripe for people to improve the homes and the properties. Unfortunately, with county building codes as stringent as they are and as difficult as it is to do much of anything with your property, this isn’t being done. The unintended consequence? The county is encouraging the “slumming” of unincorporated Boulder County. Values are not increasing (or in our economic times, dropping faster) than areas within the cities. The county is basically squashing the American dream. Someone suggested we do a petition that would not allow the County to have stricter building codes than the cities – if only to make the playing field equal when it came to the value of one’s property!

Guiding Principles for new Boulder County Comprehensive Plan

19 Nov

THE FOLLOWING ARE A DRAFT OF THE GUIDING PRINCIPLES BEING USED TO DRAFT THE NEW BOULDER COUNTY COMPREHENSIVE PLAN. PLEASE COMMENT!

1) Encourage and promote the respectful stewardship of our land, human, and community resources by all of our institutions and individuals in achieving a sustainable future which carries on the values of the community.

2) Acknowledge that all policy and regulatory decisions have interconnected social, environmental, and economic consequences that must be carefully considered and weighed to achieve a sustainable future.

3) Take actions with respect to environmental issues which result in policies and decision-making that preserves and respects our natural sytems and environment, and reduces our environmental footprint.

4) Make decisions and create policies that are responsible to issues of social equity, fairness, and access to societal resources for all county residents.

5) Encourage and support a dynamic local economy, in partnership with Boulder County municipalities, which directs uses to appropriate locations, distinguishes between urban and rural economies, is stable, flexible, and able to accommodate change, and provides meaningful employment for all county residents.

6) Locate urgan uses within or adjacent to existing urban areas in order to maintain a distinction between urban and rural areas of the county.

7) Maintain the rural character and function of the unincorporated area of Boulder County by protecting environmental resources, agricultural uses, open spaces, and vistas.

8) Address countywide sustainability by having Boulder County government take a primary role in the areas of environmental integrity, rural character, and preservation of our natural resources.

9) Continue to craft and maintain formal agreements between Boulder County, the county’s municipalities, and other regional governments and entitles that share responsibilities in building a sustainable social, environmental, and economic community for present and future generations.

My Three Minutes to the County Planning Board

17 Nov
My three minutes to the County Planning Board on November 16, 2011
My husband and I live in Unincorporated Boulder County…before we moved to Boulder, we each lived a hectic life – he in the military and me in 3rd world countries. We chose to make our forever home in Boulder County for a variety fo reasons, here are several: we are close to family, we want to embrace the urban agriculture movement of growing our own food and raising chickens and goats, and because the people in this county are intelligent and active. It is because everyone is out riding their bikes or trying to change the world, that no one knows of the injustice happening in the least likely of all places….Boulder County!
I came to a Commissioners’ Hearing earlier this month and was inspired to hear Commissioner Pearlman talk about how fairness needs to be their guiding principle in making decisions.  However, I have a list of the following inequities to bring to your attention from a very underrepresented group – the Unincorporated Residents.
1st unfairness: Our Property Rights
My understanding of Economics 101 is that government’s role is to protect the people’s property rights – not take them away.
We are only talking about 30% of the land in Boulder County that is privately “owned” – the rest is owned by government.
In our case in Unincorporated Boulder County – the local government’s regulations are taking away our property rights. The Land Use Code by the County is too aggressive – specifically the 1.25 of the median home size in our neighborhood – which has caused severe economic implications. Not to mention – has created contradictions:
The obvious ones are:
Contradiction #1: The use of the term “Rural Character” in the Guiding Principles contradicts the recommendation from Land Use to tear down our barn. To me, this solution ruins the “Rural Character.”
Contradiction #2: We must build to a strict Green Code – but again, to not exceed the limiting sq. footage restrictions, Land Use Code suggests tearing down our barn for the land fill…sounds UnGreen to me, how about you?
Contradiction #3: The County holds residents to a strict Green Code (which I don’t actually mind as I strive to be green) – but you, the government, will use our land to grow GMO crops? Again, not green!
If we continue on this path of restrictions in the Unincorporated County – we should change the definition of “Rural Character” to mean “The Slums” – as homes will continue to deteriorate, barns will be ripped down, and property values will continue plummeting.
With the current regulations, we can’t invest money in our property to get the value back! Our homes are losing value at a rapid rate and no one else wants to buy them. I feel even worse for the elderly in our old neighborhood who have lived there for 30+ years and now can’t sell their homes and their large acre plots to move on to an easier life. Taking care of an acre of land is hard work! (And, by the way, requires a barn for tractors, and animal feed, etc!)
We moved to an HOA-free neighborhood, only to get saddled with the most aggressive of all HOAs….the County!
Unfairness #2: Property Tax Increase
As our property values are plummeting, the County has raised our property taxes?! We are being pinched, squeezed, and bled dry by the County.
Unfairness #3: Our Silent Voice
The number of votes we contribute to the pool is small, we get that, but even so…we still have a right to be heard and protected by the government who has obligated itself to do so. This is not happening. Please remember that you work for us too!
We are suffering. Please hear us. Please include us and our property rights in your Guiding Principles.
Thank you.
Kristen Mecca