Restriction Covenants

We are presently witnessing a great movement of environmentalists bent on restoring natural habitats. Although this intention appears benevolent on the surface, there is insurmountable and refutable evidence available to anyone wishing to explore the subject with a view to finding the "truth" about the overall environmental movement. This is not to say or discredit those legitimately pursuing correction of environmental malpractice exemplified by the globalist enterprises including petroleum cartels and the automobile industry, to mention but a few.

We wish to present first, the arguments for support of conscious environmentally safe development, and specific evidence against, embracing an irresponsible and distorted purpose for nefarious activities under the guise of "Environmentalism".

In following up on this discussion, I recently communicated with a close friend about the dangers of restrictive covenants and the true source of the orchestration of this movement. The following correspondence and article provides additional insight into the movement:

Open Forum on Property Easements

by Darren Beddard

I have long advocated diligence be applied before embracing environmental attitudes that have consequences far beyond our observation without "digging deeper" into the motivation behind many of the new environmentally responsible" rules and regulations.

We recently had a forum on property easements and such here in the valley. I did not have a "good" feeling about attending and in my drive to preserve my sovereignty; my personal interest has sparked more digging into what's behind these movements.

Your support of Dr. Greer and his discoveries is without a doubt the result of personal interest and subsequent research into his "claims" that there was a fox in the henhouse regarding ET's and the like. It has proven true to me, beyond a doubt and for your perseverance to uncover the truth, I commend you.

In my humble opinion and without prejudice to the truly innocent environmentalists, the concerted and highly orchestrated "green movement" and the accompanying propaganda campaign begins and ends in the organizational offices of the UN. The objective behind the whole movement is to totally depopulate rural areas, by any means necessary, cram the population into cities where the masses can more easily be controlled, sorted and "culled" if need be. All-the-while making the reality of mega-business-farms a closer and closer reality as a result of the nefarious agenda. This results in a clear path for agri-business to provide GM foods for the masses regardless of their intake preferences.

So the article contained within this "FWD" has great validity for me, and demands our vigilance be focused on this "bigger picture" perspective.

We simply have to see the agenda for what it is and resolve, for our children's sake to transform the control agenda to an empowerment one.

I too, believe in the power of right-mindedness and Divine Right Action. Knowing what I know about future possibilities and events the dastardly agenda will fail, if not only for the reason of the Law of Correspondence. Just how far into the agenda our sleeping collective will have to delve, before enough pain catalyzes a shift from sleep-state into awakening, remains to be seen.

Conservation easements leave an unexpected legacy

by Carol W. LaGrasse

When Augustine Natale bought farmland in Chester County, Pennsylvania in 1989, he did not recognize the significance of language that had been added 22 years earlier to an older deed to the same land. The language, which had been repeated in the deed just before his own, was what is technically known as a "conservation easement." The language said the land could be used only for farming or nature conservation, and for small buildings related to those uses.

Nine years after he bought the land, this language destroyed Mr. Natale's life's dream. In November 1998 the broken-hearted, elderly man stood by while a bulldozer tore into his new farmhouse and ripped it down to rubble.

Even last year, Mr. Natale did not seem to understand the simple, yet technical, language restricting, or encumbering, his deed. He telephoned the Property Rights Foundation of America in New York in a last-ditch plea for help to regain his lost home, but referred to his lawyer an inquiry about the language in the conservation easement. It is no wonder that Mr. Natale did not know what he had bought when he acquired the 42-acre property.

When the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, the land trust which holds the conservation easement, sued to stop the construction of the Natale farmhouse in 1989, the Chester County Court of Common Pleas ruled the farmhouse was allowed under the restrictions. The judge ruled the construction of the farmhouse "does not offend the easement definition of a 'small building' incidental to farming use."

The judge emphasized that the burden of restricting a property owner's use of his land "is substantial," and that the " restriction must be specific and in words incapable of multiple interpretations."

Mr. Natale had saved for the farmhouse for 15 years. With the court's clear ruling in his favor, he went ahead to build the colonial house, which would house three generations of his family while they farmed the land.

But, while Mr. Natale built his house, the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust appealed the decision. The ruling by the Chester County Court of Common Pleas was reversed. In 1995, the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court dismissed Mr. Natale's appeal. All that remained was a drawn-out battle about the removal of the house, with the final demolition order given on November 23, 1998. The next day the house came down.

Bob Williams of The Philadelphia Inquirer photographed one of the men in the Natale family with his arm around Mr. Natale's waist, while the Chester County Sheriff wrapped his arm around the aged man's broad, stooped shoulders as he turned away when the house came down.

During the 1960s, conservation easements were an exciting new tool for the protection of land from development. Questions about the future implications for property owners were not paramount in the intellectual land-use planning circles developing this new line of protection.

When the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws passed a Uniform Conservation Easement Act in New Orleans in 1981, representatives from some of the states raised important questions, but the model law was railroaded through intact. After the law passed the highly respected body, it went on to be gradually incorporated into law in many states over the years.

The law sets a framework for conservation easements by canceling the historic legal traditions that do not allow broad, negative encumbrances. It also establishes the powerful right of nonprofit groups to sue to enforce conservation easements even if they are not parties to an easement.

Meanwhile, as the legal groundwork was being secured, the number of conservation easements also mounted. At the same time, a generation passed. Now, a harvest is being reaped as these easements are affecting subsequent owners. Many cases have gone to court in recent years.

During the 1990s, the drive to acquire conservation easements accelerated greatly, with land trusts and government agencies acquiring encumbrances on extremely large rural blocks of land to protect forests, ranches, farms, and nature. Some environmentalists want to tie up most of the land in entire regions, such as all of the State of Maine's unincorporated backcountry, with conservation easements.

Moreover, the terms of these new conservation easements are extremely broad, with resource protection superseding even forestry and agriculture, according to the technical language in the deeds. The language contradicts the statements of government officials and environmental groups, who claim they intend to permanently promote these land-based industries.

If two judges could reach diametrically opposite conclusions on the meaning of the conservation easement encumbering Augustine Natale's property, then the potential for confusion and litigation over the hundreds of thousands of acres of conservation easements being accomplished with much more complex terms is virtually limitless.

Conservation easements are devaluing the equity of land-based industries such as farms. Historic private property rights are being muddied.

As this new generation of conservation easements comes home to roost, the tragedy of Augustine Natale will be repeated thousands of times. The American tradition of private property ownership, and the freedom and prosperity based on private property ownership, will be diminished.

Sustainable Development

The following commentary by Henry Lamb is offered to any and all interested parties who would like to know what to look for in their communities in order to be alert to the United Nations influence on what is happening in localities across the nation. Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), and chairman of Sovereignty International. He has been studying UN activities for many years.

When "SD" comes to your town by Henry Lamb

"SD" is Sustainable Development, and it has probably already permeated your town, county, and state. It was conceived at the 1987 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development, and entered the world at the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development, in the form of Agenda 21. Since then, it has infested nearly 150 nations, including the United States.

The symptoms are unmistakable. Tell-tale terms begin appearing in local newspapers and local newscasts: urban sprawl; open space; brownfields; infill; bike paths; public transportation; visioning process; consensus; and "somethingorother-2000." Then there are reports about results of visioning process. Finally, there is a plan. Suddenly, your town is a "Sustainable Community."

Typically, the "plan" for your sustainable community will be named "Yourtown 2020," or something similar [maybe Region 2020], it will embrace several political jurisdictions, involve a "commission" or "council" with some measure of authority to "oversee" the implementation of the plan, and it will contain several components that are remarkably similar to all the other "sustainable communities" around the country. Virtually all of the components come from recommendations contained in Agenda 21.

The plan is designed to limit urban sprawl; preserve open space; infill dilapidated brownfields with public/private partnership projects; provide bike paths and improve public transportation; and do it all in a coordinated fashion with all the other political jurisdictions in the region.

What could possibly be wrong with this objective or the process that brings it about?

Much! To begin with, the concept of sustainable development and sustainable communities, completely disregards a fundamental principle of freedom that has been honored in the United States since before our country was founded: a person should be able to live wherever he chooses to live. In a sustainable community, a person can live where he chooses to live - as long as it meets the approval of the governing body.

Many sustainable community plans go much further than defining where a person cannot live; they often define the size of the home, the type of materials that may be used to construct the home, and even the type of landscaping that may be used. These restrictions are imposed, ostensibly, to protect the environment.

The individual's right to live wherever he chooses is rarely given any value at all. When the question is raised, it is often disregarded in the belief that the so-called "public good" outweighs the individual's rights.

This belief assumes that growth limits are a public good. We challenge this assumption. Growth in a community is evidence of economic expansion propelled by a free market. If a person chooses to live ten miles from town, he must acquire the land, build a home, provide transportation, and whatever services he requires.

The argument in support of a growth boundary says that if the person is required to build within the growth boundary, the public will be spared the expense of providing roads and utilities, and the avoided travel will reduce the demand for fossil fuels and the pollution from automobile use.

This argument sells well, but it is not valid. The roads and the utilities are paid for by the segment of the public that uses them - not the public at large. If people choose to live ten miles from town, they do so fully aware of the costs they must incur to satisfy their desire. Why should the desire of these people be less valid than the desire of others who think they should not live where they choose?

Open space is the great bugaboo. "We have to preserve open space for future generations," is the oft-quoted reason for growth limits. Open space is a wonderful asset for any town or community. The park systems in Chicago, and in many other cities can certainly be described as a public good. But should a city or county own land that is not a public park, just land - owned for no other reason than to insure that it is not developed?

The land acquisition fever that has descended upon federal, state, and local governments is not for the purpose of expanding parks and public areas; it is to insure that development cannot occur on that land. This is an extremely dangerous practice.

The practice interferes with a free market in real estate, and thereby forces development to occur only where the government thinks that it should occur. Once again, thwarting the free choice of individuals. More importantly, when land is acquired by government, it stops producing tax revenue, and thereby increases the tax burden on the remaining private property owners. What's even worse, the only way a government can get the money to acquire land is to force taxpayers to pay for it.

From this perspective, taxpayers are being forced to pay a higher tax than would otherwise be required, to enable a government to buy the land which will no longer produce tax revenue, insuring that the tax bill for the remaining private property owners will be higher than would otherwise be required.

Land acquisition has many faces. In some cases, it is an outright purchase by the government from a willing seller. In other cases, the government may use its power of eminent domain to force a private owner to sell. Increasingly, governments are resorting to the purchase of development rights, and conservation easements, and third-party arrangements with land conservancy organizations. The result is still an interference with a free real estate market, a reduction in tax revenue, and government-managed development.

A procedure that is said to be for the benefit of future generations is actually a pox on future generations. The current generation of land managers is assuring that future generations are unable to use the land as they wish or deem necessary.

Look a hundred years into the future with the current government land acquisition fever unabated. Governments, which already own more than 40 percent of the total land area in the United States, will own a much higher percentage that we, the taxpayers, have paid for. Perhaps more importantly, is the quality of the land that is owned by government, or its surrogate land conservancy organizations? The resources this land contains will be owned and controlled by government. When government owns the sources of production, it is a de facto socialist society.

Land acquisition and land use policies embraced by sustainable community plans dictate where people may or may not live. Sustainable community plans also seek to control how individuals live.

Getting people out of automobiles and into public transit, or onto bicycles and footpaths is another common component in the vision of a sustainable community. Using the flawed argument that automobiles contribute to global warming, community planners feel compelled to do everything possible to force people out of their cars. Thus, the urban boundary.

Many communities are using some variation of the "Community Unit" development concept. This idea requires that any proposed development set aside a specified percentage of the acreage in open space, sometimes as much as 50%, thereby doubling the price of the land for each dwelling. This concept also requires the inclusion of specified businesses, often with access by non-motorized vehicles, and quite often, even requires houses to be constructed of materials that meet certain "green" standards. These "unit" designs can also prescribe the number of houses that may be built within specified price ranges.

This is how governments are transforming what was a free society into a managed society - and calling it a sustainable community.

The sustainable community process says that free markets have produced unlivable communities and the visioners can design communities that are much better than the ones individuals have created on their own.

Sustainable development, sustainable communities, any activity preceded by the word "sustainable," means that some authority - not the private individual - decides what is or is not sustainable. The word "sustainable" should be replaced with the words "government-managed" when considering any proposal.

Government-managed development, and government-managed communities are not quite as inviting as sustainable development and sustainable communities. They are the same, however. You can't have one without the other. One of the dangers of the process so aptly described by Mr. Lamb is the creation of Commissions or Boards to oversee the Sustainable Community, which generally will incorporate an area under the jurisdiction of several 'local governments.' This overlap of jurisdictions mandates that a Board or a Commission be created to coordinate activities.

What is not spelled out for the citizen during the organizing process is the fact that much of the authority that was vested in elected officials - mayors, city councils, county commissions - will be transferred to these appointed Boards or Commissions, which will be accountable only to their own idea of what sustainable development constitutes. In effect the very form of our government is being changed from one that represents the people to one that does not.