MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.

September 26, 2010

A River Runs Through It

By now anyone who has been paying attention to recent events had heard of more and more the government (at all levels) seizing private land, ostensibly for ‘the common good’ under the guise of Eminent Domain. But at least then the government is required by law (if they obey their own law!) to make “just compensation” to you for the land. In other words, they can’t just take it and toss you out in the street.

But what if, rather than taking the land, just declare it unusable? Isn’t that the same thing.

A few days ago some friends stopped by and told MasterPo their experience with this.

These people bought 15 acres of undeveloped land in upstate New York. The land is in a scenic valley near mountains and has a stream running through it. They intended to someday build a house on the property.

This year, out of the blue, they receive notice from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation that because of the stream it has declared 14 of the 15 acres to be a “wet land” and therefore cannot be developed. Essentially their land is now worthless!

They tried to fight it but both the law and the legal costs were too great and they ended up selling the land literally for pennies on the dollar to a liquidator. A total loss to them.

MasterPo is all for protecting the environment. MasterPo is a sportsman (an avid sport fisherman).

But stop and consider the abject destruction of wealth this caused!

MasterPo doesn’t know what these people paid for that property. Surely 5-figures at least. Even if we presume no appreciation in value at all over the years (even in this real estate market) whatever it was the vast majority of the value is gone and not coming back. Who’s going to buy land you can’t do anything with??

So that is wealth that has literally vanished overnight!

Taking it further, if these people had constructed a house on the land just think of:

-The jobs created by the work crew and contractors building the house.
- All the business generate by purchasing building supplies.
- All the business generated purchasing appliances and fixtures (and sales tax paid!).
- The business the local utility companies would have received to supply electricity, fuel, etc.
- The business the local insurance company would have received for insuring the home.
- And don’t’ overlook all the property tax the local municipality would have received every year as the land is now developed.

But no. New York State killed all that with the stroke of a pen. All to “save” the environment.

Who’s going to save us from the state?

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