08/16/2006: "A Response To Gunther Letter"
To the Editor:
I'd like to respond to Les Gunther's inquiry, "Why The Criticism Of The Council On Vesting?"
Mr. Gunther is absolutely right that traditionally, many families first built a guest house and then built a principal residence. He is wrong in believing that the County Council is seeking legislative relief for the "victims of governmental stupidity"--those who have a guest houses and now want to build their main house.
Mr. Gunther is overlooking the fact that the Council itself created the problem he now thinks they are trying to resolve. There was no need for the new restrictive ordinance; in fact, Council has attempted to eliminate the existing rights of property owners to build guesthouses and principal residences--a right that will exist until the appeals court rules the old ordinance that allowed guesthouses illegal, something that well-informed attorneys doubt will occur. Rather than waiting for that decision, however, the Council enacted a guesthouse ordinance that renders it virtually impossible to have a guesthouse.
After creating the dilemma for many property owners in the County, the Council began work on the "vesting" ordinance. As it is written, the vesting provides relief to, at most, a handful of property owners. (I personally know no one who will be helped by the vesting ordinance.) Many remaining property owners who have planned for years to build a guesthouse and main house continue to be "victims of government stupidity."
The vesting ordinance is being criticized not because it is helping people, but rather because it helps only a select few.