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Monday, July 28, 2014

Property rights

"Pursuant to Article I, Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, no person may be deprived of his private property without due process of law.  In the early years of the Union, this constitutional guarantee translated into the general notion that a landowner had the right to do as he saw fit with his property.  As modern American jurisprudence developed, however that constitutional guarantee developed an important limitation: sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas - so use your own property as not to injure your neighbors." (Justice Baer, PA Supreme Court)

This is the basis for constitutional use of police powers and zoning to ensure your neighbor's use of his/her property is compatible with surrounding properties and is not used in a way that injures a neighboring property. (To be kept in mind when the air, water, soil of your property - not to mention the quiet rural setting you chose to live in - is being compromised by an industrial drilling site anywhere nearby. We each have the right to liveable, safe conditions...rights that are not trumped by a neighbor's right to make money off the land they are living on. Land they should be stewards of, frankly.)