NTF TESTIMONY AGAINST DEMOLITION PROPOSAL

Ccwatch95.doc. 7-16.
NEBRASKA TAXPAYERS FOR FREEDOM TESTIMONY AGAINST DEMOLITION PROPOSAL.

Good afternoon. My name is Doug Kagan, 416 South 130 Street, and I represent NE Taxpayers for Freedom.
We understand that this ordinance proposal has undergone revision to satisfy several objections. However, we still object to it in its entirety.

First, it wrongly establishes a hierarchy of unelected bureaucrats to decide the future of private property buildings or their use. These bureaucrats would have authority to determine if a building has historical significance. We believe that owners who pay taxes on these properties have the sole right to decide the futures of their properties on which they pay taxes. Otherwise, owners might be financially shackled by maintaining otherwise decrepit properties of little market value. If the owner of a historical building wishes to invest money in it, he should have the freedom to restore as he wishes without government interference. If he decides not to invest dollars into a non-marketable structure, he should have the sole right to demolish it and not face a financial penalty. Refusal of this right will impede redevelopment of blighted areas with the subsequent additions to the tax rolls, quality housing, and needed jobs. This proposal subjects property owners to a maze of red tape for handling their private affairs, monetarily costly delays in the conduct of their business. It sets a bad precedent, if future unelected bureaucrats dictate to property owners what they must do to the exteriors or interiors of their properties or change the age of targeted buildings to meet new guidelines. This kind of ordinance creep might actually cause property owners to panic and sell to unscrupulous speculators.

Secondly, we believe that this proposal violates the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the deprivation of property without due process of law or its taking for public use without just compensation. Nothing in this revision mentions monetary compensation for reserving private buildings for public purpose landmark status. The legal definition of due process refers to a guarantee that a law not appear unreasonable or capricious. We believe that this proposal is capricious, as it advances the whims of a select group of proponents trying to force its convictions on an entire segment of the property-owning population.

We urge the council to vote NO on this proposal.

Freedom is never free!
Doug Kagan, president
Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom
Phone: 402-551-0921

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