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Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Julie Binko Supports "Restrictive Ordinances" to Limit Private Property Rights

The discussion of conservation in Fish Creek goes back a long time. In the more recent past, in early 2008, I suggested the "public ownership option" -- that one way out of the CoPar situation would be for the city to acquire their land for conservation, possibly through a bonding referendum or other means (such as the bills later introduced by our area legislators).

My discussion of public ownership garnered immediate opposition from Dr. Julie Binko, who was then a parks commissioner and is now a city council candidate. In an e-mail sent far and wide in March 2008*, she wrote,
... I was not aware the City of Maplewood was a real estate owner or developer. It is the city's responsibility to protect the municipality from developers. Creating restrictive ordinances addressing endangered watersheds should be adequate. Place set backs or buffers to these lands and developers will not be able to go there. There is no need to cause the citizens of Maplewood to spend money and raise taxes.
In other words, rather than support a plan whereby the city could choose to purchase land for conservation and fairly compensate the land's owners, Binko advocates the creation of "restrictive ordinances" that would simply prevent private landowners from using their own land as they see fit. Then the public could get the conservation benefits for free, she argues.

I can better understand why some people have anxieties about things like the wetland ordinance, if they worry that someone with Binko's perspective might get elected to city council.

(*Binko's e-mail quoted above was CC'd to city staff, including acting city manager Chuck Ahl, and so should be available to the public via data practices request. It was sent on Sunday, March 02, 2008 at 10:03 AM.)

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