The Fire-Ravaged West Faces the Same Land Use Issues as the Water-Starved Southeast

Politically the mountain west states (Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, Utah) are very similar to southeastern states. Both place a high emphasis on local land use control and generally prefer a more libertarian approach to such regulation. But as population increases in both areas of the country, un-checked development is fueling the growth and severity of wildfires and straining the ability of rivers to provide adequate water supplies. Many states in the southeast, including Georgia and Florida, have already recognized the need for state-wide regulations that cross local jurisdictional borders and now Colorado seems to be coming to the same realization. The next steps in the southeast are to pressure other states to adopt state-wide regulations and to foster the growth of regional, inter-state regulations and guidelines.

Should the Government Have to Pay the Attorney’s Fees of the Property Owner Who Successfully Challenges Property Tax Assessments?

If the government has to pay out thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in attorneys fees for behavior it cannot predict then we are wasting tax money. Sure the individual taxpayer wins, but the rest of the taxpayers lose. We need an honest system, but penalizing the government for acting in good-faith may not be the best answer. If a jury or judge finds a valuation to be excessive, the value should be reduced and any taxes paid should be refunded. Forcing the government to deplete its resources by paying attorneys fees for acting in a reasonable manner hurts all taxpayers and does little to correct bad behavior.

Does Georgia Own Your Marshlands? Yep, Unless it or the King of England Gave it to You

While the Supreme Court cleared the way for Mapache to challenge title, it still must produce legible documents that clearly show the marshlands and tidelands were conveyed by the Crown. Back in 2006, the Georgia Supreme Court heard a similar case. In Black v. Floyd, the judgement of the lower court was affirmed by the Supreme Court because the landowners could not clearly show the property was conveyed by the crown. They had the documents, but they were so illegible that as a matter of law the court was able to rule for the State of Georgia. The landowners stated that the documents instructed the grantee to drain swamp and marsh “if any such contain herein.” The Court, though, said that even if the documents did say that, it wouldn’t be enough to show that the Crown clearly intended to convey tidewaters.