After reading articles last week concerning the comments of several local political candidates, I was so frustrated by two of the candidate’s ideas that I just have to respond to the nonsense they are promoting about the Hirst Decision. This is not a political article, just a common sense rebuttal of an uninformed viewpoint. Someone has to speak up for the majority of land owners who have been adversely affected by the Hirst Decision!
While downplaying the significant negative effects of the Hirst Decision, one candidate stated, “My opponent is beholden to real estate developers and not committed to finding operable solutions.” It seems as if she lumps all land owners automatically into the large developer category and makes them out to be greedy rich corporations that are only interested in the bottom line and care nothing about the environment. The truth is that most affected land owners are small time Ma and Pa owners who are interested in selling surplus land in order to fund their retirement or move equity for other priorities.
One owner spent many years slowly developing a road into a large parcel that he had acquired from the old family farm. Then he drilled wells on a few parcels so he could more easily sell to create his retirement fund. Meanwhile, much of his hard earned monthly cash flow from a regular blue collar job has gone into the property in real earned dollars, but now he cannot extract that equity because there are too many hurdles for new buyers.
Another uninformed candidate admits her lack of knowledge by stating, “If elected I am anxious to find out where the resistances lies so the state can get on with appropriate management of water resources.” She goes on to dispute the claim that property has been devalued because of the Hirst Decision. The backlog of unsold properties is a testament to that ignorance. Meanwhile back on the ranch, Ma and Pa are furious at this political mumbo jumbo that has cost them time and money while they wait, …and wait for uninterested politicians to find a solution.
Recently a seller lost a sale on his land with existing well because he was told by officials that the land cannot be issued a building permit since it does not meet the 300 foot setback requirement (from other neighboring wells), even though his well was drilled prior to those others that are grandfathered in because they have living structures.