Seizing Property
Seizing Property

Dixon Admits Intent of “Lights Out” Proposal is to Strip Property Rights

After much public pressure, Councilwoman Diane Dixon and City Manager Dave Kiff have recently confessed that the intention of the Balboa Overlay (most commonly known as “Lights Out After 11pm”) is even worse than we thought.  Its intention is to literally strip property rights from building owners.  If passed, it would mean that the city of Newport Beach can essentially come up with rules and regulations at a whim and nobody is protected in any fashion– “grandfathering in” would literally be a thing of the past and vested property rights would no longer be protected.

This is a far bigger and far more widely reaching threat to property rights than the much-reviled Dock Tax ever was.

So, what are vested property rights?

Let’s pretend I started a bar in the 1970s.  The license that I would get for the business would likely be to serve until the legally allowed limits: 6am-2am.  This is a property right and runs with the building, not with the business.

If I were to start a bar last year, the city would likely tell me that I can’t be open beyond 11pm.  If they decide to make it 9pm in the future, I still get grandfathered in– because it is a property right.

These property rights weigh heavily in the sales of property, as well.  As an investor, you would look at a property for its earning potential and the rights that the property already has vested with it.  As a homeowner, if you have a woodburning fireplace today it is because they are grandfathered in.  You could not build one in a new home here today.  However, you can keep the woodburning fireplace because it is a vested property right.

Note that while the official debate is about businesses open past 11pm, if an Overlay district is approved, it will set the foundation to strip any vested property rights from any and every single property owner in the entire district of Balboa Peninsula (where the Balboa Overlay targets).

Here are two quotes from Dixon and Kiff both stating that the intent of the Balboa Overlay is to create the ability to strip vested property rights. Click the quotes for the links to the Daily Pilot and OC Register articles that they are from.  Both stories were published within the last week:

[…] find a way to apply the current rules and codes governing alcohol selling to older clubs and bars that were “grandfathered” under the new regulations, perhaps by the use of a zoning overlay or similar planning mechanism.” – Diane Dixon, Councilwoman

[…] the council could decide to hold older bars and eateries – those with different regulations because they were approved before code changes – to the same regulations as newer businesses.” – Dave Kiff, City Manager

“Magically” removing property rights through zoning overlays or any other planning mechanisms is not something to be brought up casually.  For city officials to even mention that stripping vested property rights is an option on the table is horrifying to say the least.  This is a fundamental right in America, and anyone who thinks it’s even okay to mention an option of stripping our fundamental rights has some very serious flaws in their basic concepts about the role that government should be play in America.

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About Mike Glenn

Mike is the founder and publisher of Save Newport, owner of the software company Devion, the VP of Newport Beach's Republican Assembly, Chair of Government Relations for the Elks Lodge, an outspoken taxpayer advocate, and a sworn alternate voter for the Orange County GOP. He writes, shoots photos, and edits, but much of the time, he's just "the IT guy". He can be reached at: Google+, Facebook, or via email, at michael.glenn@devion.com