Property Rights

The rights of property should be uniform within state borders. The expectation of use, benefit, transference, destruction, and exclusion should be honored in this capitalistic society. Those rights should not be eroded.

The unfortunate consequence of zoning is loss of property rights. Leaning on government for anything diminishes our control. Zoning and planning regulations remove use options from our choice. Generally, that is an expected consequence of living in a municipal or county jurisdiction. Sometimes, it is not.

Chatham County, North Carolina used to be the only divided jurisdiction land area in the state. Roughly half of it was zoned. The other half was not, in the sense that zoning districts were not defined. However, a general category of zoning applied. Subdivisions and businesses had to apply for rezoning in the Residential/Agricultural western district. In 2018, it was rezoned with business approved areas, corridors, et cetera by the board of commissioners. Residents did not apply for that zoning, nor did they request it. It is done because of the power of government and the lack of unified opposition in the area, which is mostly farmland.

Another effect is affordability. In a residential setting, a neighborhood may become more expensive than the original one. Designing subdivisions with high land values and expensive houses produces that result. The founding families are forced to move out or sell. The same with business. Commercial land values may grow faster than residential rates, squeezing housing out of the area. A commercial or industrial parcel worth $100,000 per acre negates that use for most single family homes. Likewise, a commercial or industrial zoning can devalue a neighborhood.

Land uses can be taken away by regulation or zoning, usually in the name of conformity and real estate value. One small town allows small farm animals. Another subdivision forbids them. One city does not allow trucks parked on residential property. Another does for the sake of small contractors and blue collar workers.

The most tragic example is town growth surrounding farmland and dictating what the farmer may do on his/her farm. Alternately, the state may cause a loss of the right to exclude use or traffic. At one time, North Carolina registers of deed had bulletin boards which listed all properties in that county which excluded trespass, or intrusion. Today, that does not exist. The old rule of a “No Trespass” sign every fifty feet is the standard. Those signs have a life of one afternoon in hunting season. Thus, the government is complicit in promoting trespass and endangering uninformed travelers. Filing a notice with the clerk of court or register of deeds is not effective. Restore our rights to privacy with ease of notice.