Skip to content
Grist home
Support nonprofit news

Articles by Dan Whipple

Dan Whipple is the best writer in America that nobody reads. He lives in Broomfield, Colo., a conservative suburb of the Republic of Boulder.

Featured Article

Field of dreams or field of nightmares? It depends who you ask. Photos: iStockphoto

When you hear the phrase “a perfect storm,” it’s likely to conjure images of roiling whitecaps, perhaps a daring Coast Guard rescuer dangling from a helicopter to pull half-drowned sailors from their foundering vessels. Chances are the last thing it will bring to mind is land-use regulation.

But in four Western states, the unexpected confluence of two largely unrelated land-use issues — a “perfect storm” of popular dissatisfaction — is threatening to undo rules that have guided the development of Western communities for a generation or more.

On Election Day, voters in Arizona, California, Idaho, and Washington will face statewide ballot initiatives that would require taxpayers to pay landowners if a zoning rule or environmental law reduces the speculative value of their property. In some places, if a government couldn’t pay, it would have to waive rules that limit what, or where, a landowner may build. These “regulatory takings” initiatives are styled after a controversial initiative, Measure 37, that Orego... Read more