(Quin Hillyer, Liberty Headlines) Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona may be retiring, but he’s not going without putting up a fight on behalf of homeowners he says are being unfairly treated by the federal government.
The dispute involves cabins built just within the Coronado National Forest, which straddles a border between Arizona and New Mexico. About a decade ago, the U.S. Forest Service reclassified the cabins without notifying the owners. As Flake’s press release explains it, “The reclassification prohibits the owners, who now desire to relocate for health or age concerns, from selling their property.”
To counteract this reclassification, Flake has introduced the Oracle Cabins Conveyance Act. It would allow the cabin owners, at low cost, to buy the land underneath the cabins they own, so they in turn can sell their property rather than being forced to demolish it if they need to move.
“These families would not have built their homes on public land if they knew their ownership status would change. If the Forest Service won’t take the necessary steps to help these Arizonans, especially as some face serious health concerns, then Congress will,” said Flake. “This bill will ensure that the federal government cannot succeed in its attempt to pull the property rights out from under retirees.”
PREVIOUSLY: Govt Goes Wild Stealing Citizens’ Property
The Forest Service often uses cabins for rentals, as a fund-raising mechanism – including in Coronado, such as the one they advertise as being “set in a dramatically beautiful canyon surrounded by granite spires, massive boulders, and golden cliffs.”
Land disputes involving the Forest Service across the country are not infrequent, with one columnist highlighting a Montana example of what he called “the arrogance of the U.S. Forest Service.” (In that case, the writer asserted that “the government’s claim that it, and hence the public, had a right to use the property without purchasing or negotiating with the family for an easement, meant that Wonder Ranch had to file a lawsuit against the government to quiet title to the property—meaning eliminate the government’s claim to a prescriptive easement.”)
The issues in such cases often are complicated, and this is not to say that the Forest Service is necessarily at fault. It does, after all, claim to represent the rights of all citizens to public access to public lands.
Still, in this Arizona case, Flake contends that the cabin owners were caught off guard. Hence his attempt to right the apparent wrong.
Flake will remain in office for 14 more months, and hopes to pass his legislation in that interim.Click here for reuse options!
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