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Thread: Subdivision family exemptions

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Dragon's avatar
    Nov 2003
    MS, Not Margaritaville, though we are building one

    Subdivision family exemptions

    I am working on revision our subdivision regulations. Our ordinance is very broad right now, as mentioned when I listed it before. As I try to further define it, I have at least one elected official that is screaming about family exclusions. How prevalent are family exemptions to subdivisions? There isn’t anything in the state statutes to govern this, so home rule applies. IMO family exemptions aren’t necessarly a good thing, with the exception of land divided as inheritance from a deceased family member.
    “Ahh! Beer. So many choices. And it makes so little difference."
    - Bender

  2. #2
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Blog entries


    What state are you in???

    Check Virginia and Loudon County for their family subdivision process.....
    Most Colorado Counties have a good process.......
    Arizona's system is WAY TOO LAX......5 new parcels or less allowed if you have the zoning.....not much control or ability to make improvements at all....

    These are good rules if limited to legitimate family splits and are for limited use, so as not to be a way to get around subdivision rules....
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  3. #3
    Aug 2005
    Funky Town, CO.
    I once worked for a Colorado county that had some subdivision exemption provisions for family members before I worked there.They ended that exemption of treating families differently than the person who just want to sell a lot. There were just too many problems with them to manage. Planners didn't like having to deal with determining relationships between people before approving building permits. People were just using the family exemption to by-pass the subdivision requirements anyway. The impacts were the same whether the new house was built and lived in by a family member or not. IMHO if you have an subdivision exemption process it should apply to every one regardless of the size of their family or if they even have one.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
    Aug 2005
    in a meeting
    you must be in New England - check out the Maine statute, we allow them - I'm not really fond of them, but I understand what they are trying to accomplish - but people use it to get around subdivision, but on the other hand, that's not always so bad in some cases/areas...I miss the Massachusetts subdivision laws, even ANR's!


  5. #5
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    May 2003
    Staff meeting
    Wow...no such thing in this part of Illinois (though I work within an urbanized area)

    Where I work, we allow exempt subdivisions for ROW dedication, lot line adjustments, and parcels of more than 5 acres with no new infrastructure or access easements.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
    Jul 2003
    Down by Dun Ringill
    Blog entries
    The family exemption (or family transfer) is a big deal in Montana. It was originally created to allow farmers to divide their land to gift to their children without going through subdivision review.

    Rarely is it used for those purposes. Usually it is a division of land where the parent (in most cases) gifts to their child or children land that is used for residential purposes. It is abused quite a bit. A lot of people do the family transfer to divide their land for sale to a non-relative and avoid subdivision review. In particular what they are trying to avoid is having to upgrade roads as a condition of subdivision approval.

    In our county we only allow the transfer between immediate relatives. Parent to child. Child to parent. Not to uncles or aunts or cousins or grandparents. Transfers to minor children requires creation of an irrevokable trust.

    One thing we have considered adopting is a policy that prohibits sale of the created parcel for one year, in order to avoid use of the exemption strictly to create a parcel for sale.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

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