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Thread: Building a road first then file for permission

  1. #1
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Building a road first then file for permission

    How do you folks work with or regulate people who build what is termed in a permit as a "driveway" , clear the lot, build what ends up being the road, then files for subdivision of the lot into lots?

    we have this ability to build an accessway but what people do is they come in for the "driveway" that turns into the access to do the soil and water testing and then is the road -

    § 125-71. Prohibitions.
    A. No plan of a division of land within the municipality which would constitute a subdivision shall be recorded in the Registry of Deeds until a subdivision plan has been approved by the Board in accordance with this article.

    B. No person, firm, corporation or other legal entity may convey, offer or agree to convey any land in a subdivision which has not been approved by the Planning Board and recorded in the Registry of Deeds.

    C. Development of a subdivision without Planning Board approval shall be a violation of law. Development includes grading or construction of roads, grading of land or lots, or construction of buildings which requires a subdivision plan approved as provided in this article and recorded in the Registry of Deeds. Construction of temporary accessways with a maximum traveled width of 12 feet, other site work or field investigations for the sole purpose of obtaining requisite site information (including, but not limited to mineral explorations and drilling of test wells) delineated in § 125-66 for application to the Planning Board shall not be considered development activity. The Code Enforcement Officer, through the issuance of a building permit, shall approve said accessways that meet the requirement and intent of this allowance. No work on or construction of said accessways shall commence prior to the Planning Board's review of a sketch plan for the site. [Amended 11-4-2003; 11-2-2004; 5-2-2005]
    we put this accessway thingy in here to help the applicants but it doesn't get used, they go in before filing as noted above -

    so do you do any of the following:
    • no clearing within x # of years of filing for subdivisions
    • make driveways have to go to something (like a garage or a building?)

    or, as they say in Yankee Magazine, what else have you?

    thanks in advance...

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Do they bring the "accessway" up to road standards or simply want to use the 12 foot lane for their road?

  3. #3
    I agree with Matoon, make 'em pay. Make them bring their paved "accessway" up to city design standards, including their roadway thickness, complete with drainage, curbs, sidewalks, utilities, lighting and the like. Don't accept their "accessway" as a road until all of your design standards are met. Then run them thru your subdivision regulations. You do have subdivision regs (lot sizes, setbacks, cul-de-sac requirements), right??
    The last thing your city wants to do is to inherit a "bastard" child.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    hey you two - thanks for writing -

    no, that's the point, they are only supposed to build a little path so they can get the well driller in and such but instead they come in before they file with the Planning Board and get a "driveway" permit, then they basically build a road to road standards, then they come in and ask for subdivision approval for lots off what was a driveway

    the problem is they have already cleared the site and built the road and what if the Planning Board thought the road should be in a different location?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    hey you two - thanks for writing -

    no, that's the point, they are only supposed to build a little path so they can get the well driller in and such but instead they come in before they file with the Planning Board and get a "driveway" permit, then they basically build a road to road standards, then they come in and ask for subdivision approval for lots off what was a driveway

    the problem is they have already cleared the site and built the road and what if the Planning Board thought the road should be in a different location?
    I would say "Tough! That road is not acceptable to us and must be put somewhere else. You took that risk and you lost."

    Mike

  6. #6
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    hey you two - thanks for writing -

    no, that's the point, they are only supposed to build a little path so they can get the well driller in and such but instead they come in before they file with the Planning Board and get a "driveway" permit, then they basically build a road to road standards, then they come in and ask for subdivision approval for lots off what was a driveway

    the problem is they have already cleared the site and built the road and what if the Planning Board thought the road should be in a different location?
    When they apply for a driveway permit, are they supplying the specs to staff and/or the road commissin for the driveway (width, length, construction, location)? If not, require this. You guys should be able to get a good idea of their intent by what they are proposing. If they propose what appears to be an actual road, deny the application until the subdivision process is started/completed.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SW MI Planner View post
    When they apply for a driveway permit, are they supplying the specs to staff and/or the road commissin for the driveway (width, length, construction, location)? If not, require this. You guys should be able to get a good idea of their intent by what they are proposing. If they propose what appears to be an actual road, deny the application until the subdivision process is started/completed.
    I agree but my Code Enforcement Officer won't deny a permit based on inferences - so it has to be literally spelled out -

    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    I would say "Tough! That road is not acceptable to us and must be put somewhere else. You took that risk and you lost."

    Mike
    yes, that's my stance and the Planning Board agrees but they are upset because the trees are gone, etc. so they are looking for prevention measures

  8. #8
    Mod Gedunker's avatar
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    How much of this activity is a direct attempt to circumvent the subdivision regulations? Are there some that are legit and some that are obvious efforts to play the system, or mostly one or the other? If its mostly folks trying to mess with the system, I'd say it's moratorium time.

    I'd consider a policy of never accepting a roadway dedication without your planning body's approval of the location, design, and construction, prior to it being built.
    The old women used to say you could tell the next day’s weather, by whether you could hear the highway or the railroad at night. I recall that they were right more often than not.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian solarstar's avatar
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    It sounds like you may need to beef up your road requirements. They shouldn't be able to just pave a road to the standards - you should also require engineered drainage, curb/gutter, etc. When someone wants us to take over an existing "road", we make them prove with engineer's seals how it meets all of our regs (which are modeled after the state transportation requirements somewhat). It's very difficult to get an engineer to say after-the-fact that it was constructed to those standards but the owners can't use it to plat a subdivision without proving that they've met the regs.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    no, this is a strange problem - what makes the Board mad is that the developer have gone in and wiped out the property, built a road, and then filed for permission for subdivision

    it's the not the quality of the road, it's that they put it first with this driveway permit ability and then file for subdivision

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    There are people who do similar things around here to get around the Plat Act. The Illinois Plat Act says as long as your lots are larger than 5 acres and no new easements of access are created, no subdivision plat is required. Some developers have built roads, got them accepted by the road commisioner, then started selling 5 acres lots off the new road.

    Is there any way you can hang them on the max 12' width for the driveway?

  12. #12
    OUTSIDE THE BOX:
    Can you restrict your driveway permit to 20 or 30 trip ends per day? This would keep his driveway permit from being a street merely on the trips taken.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by savemattoon View post

    Is there any way you can hang them on the max 12' width for the driveway?
    possibly - I think it's going to be a host of things -

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ssnyderjr View post
    OUTSIDE THE BOX:
    Can you restrict your driveway permit to 20 or 30 trip ends per day? This would keep his driveway permit from being a street merely on the trips taken.
    How would you enforce this?

    On other matters:
    Did they get/need tree removal permits? Clearing/grubbing permits? Demo permits? Plans for such?

    I agree with the previous comments along the lines of that they took a risk in building the road on the sly and if it works out for them good, if not, tough beans.

    In a way it reminds of an almost problem I ran into in my neck of the woods. We had a vacant waterfront lot (one of the few left) on a residential street on one of our barrier islands. The property owner submitted plans for a house and dock but wanted to build the dock before the house. We said "No" to that under the premise that docks are permitted as an accessory use to a single-family residence but if the residence is not there yet the dock couldn't be accessory to anything and would therefore be, by default, the primary use which, of course, is prohibited.

    I seem to remember that the house was not built for a long time and I suspect that the original owner sold the property and the next owner built the home. I also think the first owner just wanted to build the dock and was trying to pull a fast one.

    In the future you may want to look at building driveways to nowhere the same way (not to be confused with a bridge to nowhere).

    Just a thought.

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