From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Heritage Area Land Grabs Re-Appear

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA. 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973 – E-mail: alra@landrights.org
Web Address: http://www.landrights.org
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE- Washington, DC 20003
Phone: 202-210-2357 – Fax: 202-543-7126 – E-mail: landrightsnet@aol.com

Heritage Area Land Grabs Re-Appear

Sometimes it doesn't matter which political party controls Congress - let's call them the Republicrat Party.

The newly Republican-controlled United States Senate is working off the same agenda as the Democratic-controlled Senate in one important way:  MORE LAND GRABS.

Incredibly, the Republicans held a hearing this week to consider "Heritage Area" land grabs.  A Heritage Area is a designation in which the National Park Service gains control over local zoning by making promises - most false - about federal funding and economic development.

FORTUNATELY, grassroots property rights activists are always on the alert, and one of us testified in favor of local control and private property rights and against the same old leftwing agenda of more Big Brother.

Here are excerpts from the statement of Mr. Peyton Knight, Legislative Director of the American Policy Center.  ACTION  ITEM  below - THANK Mr. Knight for standing up for all of us!

One of the biggest fears that both residential and commercial property owners have about Heritage Areas is that they will effectively lead to restrictive federal zoning and land-use planning.  Why do they fear this?  Because funding and "technical assistance" for Heritage Areas are currently administered through the National Park Service—an agency that, unfortunately, has become synonymous with lost property rights.

Indeed, section 6.1.6 of the management plan for the National Coal Heritage Area in West Virginia, a management plan that was created with funding and technical assistance provided by the Park Service, states:

“Southern West Virginia counties, like rural areas across the United States, lack land-use controls completely or else have controls that are weak or ineffective. The visual landscape that results is cluttered and frequently unattractive.”

This, of course, is a blatant move towards increased restrictions on development and stringent zoning controls.  Nearly every Heritage Area has a management plan or statement of purpose that calls for restrictive zoning regulations, under the auspices of more environmental protection, more open space and more historic preservation.  This typically results in more infringements upon the property rights of landowners located within the boundaries of Heritage Areas.

When the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area in Georgia was in its developmental stages in 1994, the National Park Service refused to accept the management plan put forth by Augusta Canal Authority until zoning regulations were made stricter.

Private property rights advocates are also worried that National Heritage Areas will effectively become part of the National Parks program, despite attempts by proponents to assuage these fears.  Unfortunately, these fears are well founded.

The Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, located in southwestern Pennsylvania, states boldly on its website:

“Rivers of Steel is spearheading a drive to create a national park on 38 acres of original mill site…Bills have been introduced before the U.S. Congress to make this urban national park a reality.”

Thus, here is an example of a National Heritage Area, funded and guided by the National Park Service, taking the initiative in lobbying Congress for land acquisition and the creation of yet another National Park.

If the Heritage Areas program is allowed to proliferate, experience shows that it will become not only a funding albatross, as more and more interest groups gather around the federal trough, but also a program that quashes property rights and local economies through restrictive federal zoning practices.  The real beneficiaries of a National Heritage Areas program are conservation groups, preservation societies, land trusts and the National Park Service—essentially, organizations that are in constant pursuit of federal dollars, land acquisition and restrictions to development.



Please  THANK  Peyton Knight by sending him an email at this address:


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