As the Co-Chairman of the Coalition for Property Rights I would like to take this opportunity to provide Okanogan County residents with a few facts about our organization. The Coalition for Property Rights presently maintains approximately 900 people on our membership list. Our free membership includes a few local developers and real estate agents; however the vast majority of our membership comes from family farmers and ranchers or local residents. Only 25 of the people on the CPR membership list receive mail outside of Okanogan County, which reflects that our efforts are Locally Driven. Our executive board consists of a panel of volunteer experts (all of them local) who have spent the last three years working extensively to defend private property rights in Okanogan County. While our board consists of a group of highly qualified professionals, to date, none have received any payment or reimbursement for their time or costs. The CPR does not accept money from government grants or outside entities who wish to influence the end result of county planning practices. We depend completely upon donations from area residents. The Coalition for Property Rights represents an overwhelming majority of private property holdings in Okanogan County. For all of these reasons, the Coalition for Property rights is unique when compared to our adversaries.
The Coalition for Property Rights believes that Okanogan County residents have been successfully managing their own property for the last 100+ years. We believe that to take away an individual’s rights to his own land is theft and illegal according to the constitution. Our adversaries recently published a newsletter that describes “A huge disappointment to many who have participated in the process, the new (Comprehensive) plan discusses constitutional rights and the county’s trust in its citizens to take care of existing resources.” They are so audacious as to say, “Property rights advocates, who eat-to-live, should consider advocating for better stewardship of the land.”
The Coalition for Property Rights believes that you are the best steward of your land. We celebrate the inclusion of Constitutional liberty within the Okanogan County Comprehensive Plan and we champion the blockade of sub area expansion. We may have facilitated the effort, but what our opponents failed to mention was the written objection from the majority of the people who actually own the land! Our three-year public record does not end with the comments of our Chairman, Jon Wyss, but in fact includes hundreds and hundreds of letters from landowners themselves. We are proud to partner with the people of Okanogan County to defend what is rightfully ours!
In response to the vicious personal attack published in the opposition’s newsletter, I would like to personally thank Jon Wyss and Gebbers Farms for their enormous contribution to defending private property rights in Okanogan County. Most of us don’t have the time to research and participate in the planning process – it’s a full time job. Our property rights are one in the same. Jon Wyss has been a
property rights watchdog for not only the Gebbers family, the Farm Bureau, the Horticultural Society and the Coalition for Property Rights – but for everyone who owns land in Okanogan County. He is highly knowledgeable and completely dedicated to getting this plan right. As a member of those organizations, and someone who works closely with Jon, I would like to express that we are very fortunate to share him as a valuable resource. That said; it would be unfair to give Jon all the credit! The Coalition for Property Rights consists of a whole team of people who actively participate on every level. We attend meetings, give testimony, write letters, coordinate events, publish media and draft alternative language for consideration. This process is far too involved for one man to shoulder alone and we thank our many dedicated volunteers who have helped to make improvements to the plan.
The final draft o the Comprehensive Plan has been published for your consideration and the CPR has a couple of main concerns. First, the “Transportation Element” that has been adopted by reference, is a massive document that was written outside of the Comp Plan process and goes way beyond the state requirements. We would like to see it removed and replaced with a simpler circulation element that satisfies state law without going further than necessary toward regulation. Secondly, we must get the Methow Sub Units removed from the Comp Plan Appendix and appropriately placed into the Zone Code. The Sub Area Plans were removed once before, so why were they mysteriously added back into the plan at the year’s end, just before the release of the final draft, and prior to the induction of our new Commissioner? Allowing these plans to act as addendums to our Comp Plan gives them the authority to speak on issues that are not addressed within the main body of the plan. We don’t mind respecting the work that has been done in the Methow, however, we will not allow those plans to place regulation upon the rest of the county. These sub area plans are filled with environmental leanings that, if included, pose a serious threat to landowners throughout the county. Placing specific sub area plans into the zone code allows those areas the regulation and oversight that they wish on their own property, while protecting the private property rights of others who may not agree.
The Coalition for Property Rights encourages you to get involved in what is likely to be the final months of this process. Please visit our website at www.okanoganpropertyrights.com for complete information about us and to access to important links regarding land use planning. Our membership is free and all volunteer. If you are physically or financially able we are going to need your help during the coming months to ensure that the freedoms we have come to know and love in Okanogan are not lost forever!