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[at-l] Re: Eminent Domain



Walt Daniels wrote:

>> From: jplynch@crosslink.net (James P. "Jim" Lynch)
>>  ...the ATC and Forest Service were abusive and unfair.
>> 
>> Sort of a long post; any comments from an ATC official?  Sort of takes the
>> ATC to task.  As a member of the ATC, sort of rankles this hiker.

> ATC staff has been very aggressive on Killington and Saddleback.
> Whether that is abusive or unfair probably depends on which side of
> the fence you you are sitting on.  Note: Killington and Saddleback are
> big boys with the resources to defend themselves.  That by its very
> nature leads to a more contentious process.

Read: They can't be rolled like the smaller land owners.

> To a large extent ATC staff is not very involved in the details on the
> smaller cases, the Feds againts mom and pop small landowner.  As I
> said in a previous post, our local ATC management committee is
> involved in these small cases and we care. We work very hard to be fair
> but also will not take any crap from scam artists. Yes we have one
> of those, the tax accessor of a local town borders on NPS land. He
> deliberately went though the process of subdividing his land to inflate
> the price.  Note - this is not an unwilling seller case; just someone
> trying to maximize profits.

> Bottom line - if fairness is important to you - get involved.  You can
> make a difference.

> In all fairness to NPS and USFS, they are just following the letter of
> the law and their interpretation of the congressional mandate.

Regulatory and law enforcement agencies are only as just and worthy
of respect as the laws and regulations they enforce. The fact that
they follow orders well doesn't endear me to the men in porkpie hats.

>                                                                They
> are also under considerable time pressure as the funding will not last
> forever and each year of delay raises the prices they have to pay for
> land.  In recent transactions in our area, Dutchess and Putnam Co.
> NY, we paid $20,000 per acre at one end and $2000 per acre at the
> other, less than 40 trail miles apart.  From the rate of growth, I
> would wager that the $2000 piece will be $5-10,000 within a few years.

You got that right. The time to buy was in the last recession when
the real eastate market collapsed.

> It is also worth looking at the viewshed issues from a different point
> of view, namely current adjacent landowners.  Lots of them bought
> their property because of the rural characteristics and the general
> scenic nature of the area.  We are in fact helping them if we slow
> down development and preserve existing views.

Or as the bumper sticker goes, "Got mine...up yours."

On the other hand, I'm currently looking for land myself, and see
the appeal in what you say. It's durn hard to stay principled these
days.

One problem I have with this whole viewshed issue is that the AT,
at least in parts of Maine, has been rerouted not to avoid development,
but rather to *increase* the number and directions of views on the
trail (meanwhile maintaining the old sections as blue-blazed). These
reroutes range from relatively minor spurs to outlooks, to moving
several miles of the trail from sheltered valleys and stream courses
onto mountain ridges.

If memory serves, most of these changes were made around the time the
NPS took control of the trail, along with all of the government power
that entails. A trail guide from the late 70s or early 80s is almost
worthless for about a third of the trail in Maine today.

It seems to me that purposefully moving the trail to add views, then
demanding that land be taken by the government to protect it, is kind
of like, well, subdividing your land to inflate its value before being
taken under eminent domain.

>                                                The views we get from
> the trail are not unrelated to the views they get driving on the local
> roads. So it helps to have someone with backbone and principles that
> are broader than the individual interests of a single land owner.  The
> local landowners have a hard time controlling one renegade who wants
> to make a big profit by subdividing.

Would the "renegade" have subdivided in the first place if the
government
had no plans to take his land from him?

-- 
mfuller@somtel.com, Northern Franklin County, Maine
The Constitution is the white man's ghost shirt. }>:-/> --->
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