Pierce County Executive Ladenburg wants levy lid lift to preserve undeveloped land

Pierce County Executive John W. Ladenburg is proposing action to save undeveloped land with long-term public benefit potential. Increasing urbanization of Pierce and other counties in the Puget Sound region puts such properties at risk of being developed.
“It is imperative that we take action now on behalf of future generations of county citizens,” said Ladenburg, who has submitted to the County Council a proposed ordinance that would start a process for saving undeveloped lands. “We know that another 1.5 million people will be coming to the Puget Sound area during the next 30 years.”
Ladenburg proposes asking the voters in the Nov. 4 general election to approve a nine-year lid lift on the regular property tax levy. If approved, the lid lift would provide funds for the county to buy development rights on open space and recreational land, farm and agricultural land, timber land and other property having recreational, social, scenic or aesthetic value. It would cost the owner of a $300,000 single family residence approximately two dollars per month.
The county has been purchasing open space properties for years under the Conservation Futures program. However, that program calls for outright purchase of properties, and the available funds are sufficient to make a only a limited number of acquisitions each year.
The opportunity to acquire development rights became available when the County Council passed Transfer and Purchase of Development Rights legislation last year.