land rights

20 petitions

This petition won 1 month ago

Petition to Commissioner Charles Smith

Help to save 3-year old Layla’s playhouse in Ellenton, FL!

Layla has until the end of January to enjoy being a child in her playhouse or the county will start fining her family $100 a day! Layla’s dad built his daughter a playhouse to foster her imagination, creativity and outdoor play instead of plopping her in front of the TV! Her family lives in a flood zone in Manatee County Florida where it is required that ALL playhouses in a flood zone be in compliance with flood plane elevation, by applying for a permit. However, Layla’s parents are the ONLY family in the history of Manatee County who have been required to apply for a permit for a playhouse and Layla’s meets the flood code and building code requirements! A neighbor felt the need to complain who cannot see the playhouse and has since moved away, so Manatee County code enforcement decided to enforce only hers! Turns out the information Layla’s parents received and relied on from the county before they built their daughter’s playhouse was incorrect. Layla’s playhouse is on a vacant lot that they also own and in order to keep her playhouse there her parents would have to join the vacant lot with their adjoining property. Unfortunately, this would cause their flood insurance premium to increase by $2,000 a year! Please sign to let Manatee County know that you want Layla to continue to enjoy playing pretend, going down her cool tube slide, and swinging on her swings by creating a land use exception for playhouses!

Lauren Przybyla
1,087 supporters
This petition won 2 months ago

Petition to Town of Copper Canyon

Preserve Copper Canyon! Don't Allow Builders to Reshape our Town!

Copper Canyon Residents: After you sign please leave your physical address in the "Add your voice" section of "Join the Conversation" or the "I'm signing because..." area OR you can email it to me to include at Most of us either moved out to or have stayed in Copper Canyon to enjoy the laid back country feel and open spaces.  However, there are builders that are actively trying to reshape Copper Canyon into something that it’s not. The P&Z committee unanimously voted on December 11th NOT to rezone 646 Chinn Chapel Road from the current 2 Acre minimum to 1 Acre minimum as requested by a home builder. However, now a home builder wants the Copper Canyon Town Council to grant a exception and allow 1 Acre homes to be built in our 2 Acre minimum district and go against the vote of our P&Z committee.  The 1 Acre in front of the house at 648 Chinn Chapel Road (Burgess 2 Lot 24 S & SE Corner) is being considered to be converted from agricultural land into a build site to accommodate the builders request.  The new site will be directly outside the current resident's front door.  Besides the haphazard design of the lot and lack of consideration for the current home owner, the change will create a precedent going forward and welcome in a more urbanized and crowded Copper Canyon. We are petitioning the Town Council to maintain the rural and country feel of our town and not turn it into another crowded subdivision by way of precedent.  We want the Town Council to keep to the requirements of the current zoning districts and not to create exceptions to accommodate builders. Please join me in objecting to the Council granting 646 Chinn Chapel Rd to be turned into the first, of many to follow, crowded home sites in our larger acreage districts. Also, please join the Monday, January 8th 2018 Town Council meeting at 7:00PM to support in person!

Eric Rooney
442 supporters
Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to Jesús Aguirre

Landmark Park Threatened by Government Sell Out

Petition Superintendent Jesús Aguirre of Seattle Dept of Parks and Recreation to do the right thing and obey the law protecting Volunteer Park by not transferring land from open space use to museum use.  According to: Save Our Parks Initiative 42, Ordinance 118477: All park land shall be preserved for park, boulevard or open space use and cannot be sold, transferred or changed from park use to another use, unless: a)      The City holds a public hearing on the necessity of the transaction, and b)      adopts an ordinance finding the transaction is necessary because there is no reasonable and practical alternative and c)      The City receives in exchange a piece of land or facility of equivalent or better size, value, location and usefulness in the vicinity. (January 1997) Also to change the zoning code to make this expansion legal would set a very dangerous precedent – Allowing a zone code change for a specific use that takes parkland for other uses undermines the City Ordinances and Landmark status protection of parkland. The Dept of Seattle Parks and Recreation has turned its power for the protection of Volunteer Park’s well-being over to the Seattle Asian Art Museum, which leases a park building and is part of Seattle Art Museum. SAAM/SAM is a separate non-profit entity and is not Volunteer Park, who is owned by city tax payers… their interests are not same. Legally, in 2008, Seattle citizens, in a Parks and Green Space Levy, allocated $9 million (about 40% of the total cost) for the renovation and upgrades for the landmark building that SAM leases from the Park for the Seattle Asian Art Museum.  The project didn’t proceed because of the recession. With very little public knowledge in subsequent years, the original $ 29 million renovation proposal became a $49 million renovation and expansion proposal with no justification from SAM why the extra space was needed. And SAM has failed to meet the requirements of full public disclosure and approval for early building design. The Seattle Dept of Parks and Recreation has dropped the ball by failing to require SAM to prove there is no reasonable and practical alternative to the expansion of SAAM and the taking of parkland from park use. If you open the door to take parkland once it will happen again… SAM will be back wanting more parkland for expansion in another ten years. There are alternative ways for the museum to have the upgrades it needs, which should be thoroughly considered before any taking of parkland. Volunteer Park is not only a City designated landmark, but is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Its designers, the Olmsted Brothers, in 1910 expressed their opposition to erecting buildings in parks, for the reason that "The landscape ceases to be a naturalistic park landscape, and becomes a building landscape." Part of the proposed expansion is 40’x80’and 50’ high with windows that will be flooded with artificial light and will dominate all the pastoral views of the east-side of the park. The natural open space will be lessened with this expansion. There will be a dominate environment of concrete, glass and light with eyes peering out the windows watching the park goers. The beloved, private and quiet, nature sanctuary atmosphere will be gone along with many of the big trees that will die from the stress of the construction process.  On darker days, evenings and nights, especially in winter, the artificial light through the museum windows will be unnatural and unsettling to park goers as well as nearby homes. For many park goers, the side that will be impacted is their serenity and favorite side of the park. There are far more people daily, using and loving this quiet side of the park than will ever go into the museum. Please help stop the selling out of our landmark park.  For more info visit: "Like" us on FB: DONATE to help with legal costs!  

Protect Volunteer Park
633 supporters
Started 2 months ago

Petition to President of the United States

Pardon Steven Hammond and Dwight Hammond.

Appeal to Trump Administration to Commute Sentenceof Dwight and Steven Hammond   ​For decades agencies of the Department of Interior, namely the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), have deployed their administrative powers to punitively regulate and maliciously prosecute the Hammond family of Oregon in a thinly veiled attempt to drive them off their ranch, their historic grazing allotments and vested water rights.     In August of 1994, the BLM and USFWS falsely arrested Dwight Hammond for protecting their legally owned water rights. While the Hammonds prevailed in state court proving their vested water right claims against water right claims made by the government they elected not to counter-sue for the BLM and USFWS for damages and false arrest.    For 20 years, the Hammonds fought to be able to trail cattle on historic stock driveways through USFWS land usinghistorical records to establish their right to trail their cattle.  During that time, government records document repeated efforts by the USFWS and BLM to prevent the Hammonds from using their historic rights.  Between 1994 to 2006, the Hammonds were arbitrarily stripped of three BLM grazing permits and one Malheur National Wildlife Refuge grazing permit, gutting the economic viability of their ranching operation.  The grazing permits were attached to the Hammond’s statutorily protected vested stockwater rights and grazing preferences.   In the present case, in 2001, with BLM permission, Steve Hammond started a prescribed burn on their private land that accidentally spilled onto 137 acres of adjoining federal land.  The BLM never cited the Hammonds for that fire.     In 2006, during a violent thunderstorm, lightning struck federal land near the Hammond’s home, barns and stack yardsof winter feed.  The Hammonds started an emergency backfire on their private land to protect their home and buildings but which burned one acre of adjoining federal land before it could be contained. The BLM was notified of the burned acre of land.  The backfire not only saved the Hammond’s home and barns butultimately their grazing lands potentially protecting  thousands of acres of federal land from the ravages of the wind-driven wildfire.    The BLM pursued criminal charges for the fire against Dwight and Steve in state court.  District Attorney Tim Colahanreviewed the case and dismissed all charges against the Hammonds.    In 2010, before the statute of limitations had run on the 2001 fire, the BLM brought the Hammonds into federal court,indicting them on 9 charges relating to both fires. Rather than charging Dwight and Steve under the BLM’s own land-use statutes, prosecutors instead maliciously charged them as domestic “terrorists” under the Antiterrorism Act of 1996.  This time the BLM succeeded in obtaining a conviction againstDwight Hammond, Jr., now 78, and Steven D. Hammond, 50. However, the government did offer to drop all charges if the Hammonds would simply sign over two-thirds of their ranch to the federal government.   Significantly, the Interior Department avoide d bringing charges under their own statutes which specifically provide anexception for crimes attachi ng to fires started by ranchers who own grazing allotments in certain circumstances: “This section shall not apply in the case of a fire set by an allottee in the reasonable exercise of his property rights in the allotment,” 18U.S.C. § 1855.       Federal District Court Judge Michael Hogan stat ed atsentencing, “I will impose a sentence that I believe is defensible under the law, but also one that is defensible to my conscience.”  Hogan specifically found, “It would be cruel and unusual punishment for this crime to give them the mandatory minimum of five years.”  Steven was sentenced to one year; Dwight, 90 days, which they served.  He also sentenced both Hammonds to three years of post-prison supervision and required them to surrender their firearms. The judge also allowed the men to stagger their sentences in order to keep operating their ranch.    Tragically, council for the Hammonds failed to raise critical defenses in pleadings, and pressured the Hammonds to take a midnight plea deal to a partial verdict.  The Hammonds understood the plea to mean that the case was over once and for all. They did not realize that in signing the agreement they had waived all their rights to appeal but that the federal government’s right of appeal was retained.   Once the ink was dry on the plea agreement the government prepared to appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.   In a separate but related civil case, the Hammonds were fined $400,000. The Hammonds signed this agreement under duress, giving the BLM the first right-of-refusal should the Hammonds be forced to sell their ranch.     In 2015, the DOJ and DOI appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Court ordered the Hammonds to be re-sentenced for the full five-year term beginning January 4, 2016. Dwight and Steve are currently incarcerated in federal prison in Southern California.   We, the undersigned, strongly advocate for the rule of law.  We believe that impositions of arbitrary and capricious rules and regulations singling out one rancher is inconsistent with the rule of law.  The government clearly engaged in selective criminal and civil prosecutions of the Hammonds as terrorists for acc idental fires when there is ample evidence the BLM and USFWS had for decades been attempting to drive the Hammonds out of business and off the land as they had with numerous other ranchers in the ever expanding Mahler Wildlife Refuge.  The punitive double imprisonment of the Hammonds is especially troubling in light of multiple documented cases of Oregon BLM employees starting controlled burns or backfires which “accidentally” spread to burn thousands of acres of both federal and private land and structures.  Those employees remain unpunished and property owners uncompensated for lost property.    For the rule of law to mean anything in this country it must be applied equally to everyone—not selectively to private citizens for ulterior motives. Federal employees receive immunity for the very same act for which the Hammonds were charged criminally and sent to prison in a manner even the trial judge found to be egregious.  Even more troubling is the long history in the Hammond case, and others, of federal administrative and prosecutorial powers being weaponized in what appears to be a concerted effort by the BLM, aided by the Department of Justice, to take property without compensation and extort exorbitant fines from law abiding ranchers.  While government abuse of power is not uncommon, it is uncommon for a 78-year old man and his son, both of whom haveexemplary records, to be sent to prison for as domestic terrorists for an accidental fire.     We respectfully request the Trump administration review the pattern of persecution, and selective and maliciousprosecution of Dwight and Steve Hammond.  We respectfully request that the Inspector Generals of the DOJ and DOI, or an unbiased third party, review the pattern of malicious prosecution, fraud, and corruption which taints this prosecution,giving rise to the appearance of a sanctioned federal persecution for the purpose of obtaining private property without just compensation—in direct contravention of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.   The Hammond case is viewed by many in the West, and indeed across the nation, as a manifest miscarriage of justiceakin to double jeopardy.  The Hammonds are highly regarded in their rural community of Burns Oregon.  The beleaguered western ranching industry has sustained years of political, regulatory and prosecutorial attacks by officials within the DOI, USDA and DOJ during previous administrations.  Ranching haseither been eliminated or drastically reduced from multiple grazing allotments across the West without compensation to ranchers for their vested water rights or privately-owned range improvements.     Rural communities of the West are greatly appreciative of the efforts of the Trump administration to restore the economies of these communities.  However, as long as Dwight and Steve Hammond remain in jail for what is obviously a gross miscarriage of justice, this matter remains a blight on the federal regulatory agencies and the criminal justice system.  The current administration is afforded a rare opportunity in the Hammond case to reverse a clear miscarriage of justice.   Thank you for your consideration of this very important issue.  

Linsay Tyler
6,766 supporters