By Craig Siphers, Interim President, Bitterroot Valley Board of Realtors
“Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization. REALTORS® should recognize that the interests of the nation and its citizens require the highest and best use of the land and the widest distribution of land ownership. They require the creation of adequate housing, the building of functioning cities, the development of productive industries and farms, and the preservation of a healthful environment.”
Perhaps it is a bit unorthodox to start a letter to the editor with the preamble to the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics. I felt it appropriate given the nature of my letter and to educate the public about the commitment of the REALTORS® to uphold these tenets.
The Ravalli County Board of Health along with the Ravalli County Department of Environmental Health is moving forward with revising the 2011 Ravalli County Subsurface Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Regulations. The Bitterroot Valley Board of REALTORS® encourages the citizens and property owners of Ravalli County to understand our organization has been active in contributing to the discussion about these proposed revisions. We recognize the potential impact wastewater management has on our environment. We also recognize the impact regulations can have on property values and the ability of property owners to have quiet enjoyment of their homes and properties.
There is no argument about having a healthy watershed in the Bitterroot Valley. As REALTORS®, we have an obligation to preserve a healthy environment. We have an obligation to support efforts to maintain the quality of life and natural amenities that make this such a great place to live and have land ownership. To that end we support the extraordinary contributions that our volunteer members of various boards make to this county. They sometimes have to make hard decisions and the revision of the Subsurface Wastewater Disposal and Treatment Regulations is part of that deliberation.
As an organization in the valley, we have been an advocate for private property rights and we also recognize that those rights come with certain responsibilities to our neighbors. Please make yourself aware of the proposed revisions of this important regulatory process. Ask your representatives in county government to protect your due process and demand that arbitrary and capricious decisions are not given opportunity to arise. And be responsible when buying and selling real estate to assure that the systems that you are buying or selling are conforming to standards that continue to make this a great place to live.