The City of Scottsdale wants to pass a new zoning law that prohibits check-cashing stores from being located near each other or near "sensitive uses." But this is not just a minor zoning issue. It is most fundamentally a deprivation of property rights-and an illustration of why the fight for property rights in Arizona did not end with the passage of Proposition 207 in 2006.
Proposition 207 requires governments to compensate property owners if a regulation reduces the value of their property. But very little legal protection exists against regulations that nibble away at the number of legal ways owners can use their property, without an immediate or quantifiable impact on land value. Seemingly innocuous land use restrictions are free to multiply, eventually having a significant cumulative impact on land values.
Property rights in Arizona still run the risk of "death by a thousand cuts. The bleeding can only be stopped by demanding rigor in the creation of property regulations. Advocates of regulation at every level of government should be required to marshal evidence demonstrating that public health, safety, or welfare will be protected by any new land use regulation they propose. This is even more important when they target legal, but politically disfavored, businesses.
Requiring this kind of scrutiny before a law is passed is often referred to as a "sunrise review" provision. No restriction or deprivation of peaceful property uses should be enforceable absent a sunrise review.
Nick Dranias is the constitutional policy director at the Goldwater Institute.
Secretary of State: Prop 207
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