Saturday, March 8, 2014
Legislative Review Proposed on Property Rights
The West Virginia Legislature did not resolve ongoing residential property rights conflicts and hardships during this session, but the issue continues to be under review.
To that end, I have drafted and submitted House Concurrent Resolution # 133.
This resolution requests that a post legislative session interim review by the Legislature's Joint Committee on Government & Finance "study the impact upon property rights of owners whose residences are being mandated to connect to public sewer systems, including, but not limited to, comparing findings across West Virginia to examine the need for standards regarding conflicts between private property owners and public service districts, examining the feasibility of implementing a dispute resolution process, examining the appointment and oversight of public service district board members and examining the Public Service District Sewer Ordinances of Jefferson County as potential model standards.".
HCR 133, if approved by legislative leaders of the House of Delegates and Senate, would establish that:
" * The Legislature recognizes the paramount importance of private property as one of our essential rights; and
* The Legislature and the courts of West Virginia agree that this important right should be protected; and
* The Legislature recognizes that private property rights may only yield to overwhelming public need; and
* The Legislature recently has been reminded of the need for diverse water and waste services; and
* The Legislature seeks to address the need to bring the procedures of mandatory subscription to sewer services in line with best practices in order to achieve maximal results for our children and families; and
* A greater benefit would accrue to the public if the issues surrounding private property rights and public sewer systems were examined."
A post legislative session decision by legislative leaders of the West Virginia House of Delegates and Senate on whether or not to authorize this interim legislative study with be forthcoming at a later date.