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Thread: Exempt rural subdivision

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Exempt rural subdivision

    There is a provision in our subdivision ordinance for something called an “exempt rural subdivision”. Essentially this allows a property owner to divide a parcel into 10 or fewer lots which must be at least one acre in size. The only provisions required for approval include a 45 wide right of way or easement, provisions for legal access to all lots, provisions for upkeep and maintenance of the right of way, and a statement that road maintenance is not the responsibility of the County or the DOT. The resultant lots may not be further subdivided, and may only be used for a single residential structure. The section states “The intent of the exempt rural subdivision is to provide for special situations in the areas of the County”, I am still uncertain as to what these special situations may be. This provision does not require any of the standard subdivision practices, such as utility requirements or paved streets. This does require planning board review, but the requirements for approval are very limited.

    My concern is that the provisions of the upkeep and maintenance of the right of way will simply state that property owners are responsible for road maintenance. We have several similar subdivisions, and road maintenance is an enormous issue for which we really have no recourse. All resultant lots will rely on septic systems for wastewater disposal, however there is no requirement that these lots need to be reviewed for a system prior to approval. There is the slight potential that some of these resultant lots may not be able to utilize a system. Phase 1 of this development, which was again an “exempt” subdivision under a different provision, required improvement permits, several of which were denied.

    To sum up this extremely long question, do any of you have a similar provision? If so, what would approval require? Have any of you seen anything similar?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yeah.....

    Sometimes they are called family subdivisions....to allow family members to create parcels off the back 40 of the farm.....some states allow 5 lots....some more....some less. Roads are always an issue. This is one of the ways flag pole lots get created in some parts of the world. Because they are considered subdivision exemptions in many places, they are not subject to subdivision regulations (or only certain provisions). In most cases a property can only be split this way once in its life. Just because it is sold doesn't start the clock over.
    "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

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    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Can't help much there. our splits are either done through subdivision process or just a survey and deed system. Either way we make sure there is road access. The closest I can come is our survey deed split. This allows one lot to break off the farm (sometimes). It has to meet zoning standards (frontage, size, width, etc). Then they have to get septic and water when they apply for a permit. Not a big issue since our minimum lot size is 3 acres. I think I've only had one where they couldn't get water. So now they're trying to get one of the water districts to provide them with water. I generally stay out of these problems. Sorry your land is worthless, his a quarter to call someone.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    Sometimes they are called family subdivisions....to allow family members to create parcels off the back 40 of the farm.....some states allow 5 lots....some more....some less. Roads are always an issue. This is one of the ways flag pole lots get created in some parts of the world. Because they are considered subdivision exemptions in many places, they are not subject to subdivision regulations (or only certain provisions). In most cases a property can only be split this way once in its life. Just because it is sold doesn't start the clock over.
    The family exemption is a separate item here, which is why I cannot understand why this is even a thing.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by AG74683 View post
    The family exemption is a separate item here, which is why I cannot understand why this is even a thing.
    It most likely was the only way to get the regulations adopted. Perhaps it is time to review the code and suggest revisions. But make sure it is not in your state statutes.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Doberman's avatar
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    This may be worth looking into it. I'm not sure what the intent of something like this is. I plan for a county as well and we have Rural Subdivisions and Family subdivisions which do not require access to a paved public road.

    The Rural subdivision was basically a way to create large estate lots through zoning. They can never be split again. Each lot must be 10 acres which basically puts them exclusively in unzoned, or AG type zoning so it would be consistent with the density. Each lot is not required to have access to a paved public road.

    The Family Subdivision is state mandated and can't be enforced. The applicant must sign an affidavit that the first conveyance must go to an immediate family member and each lot is not required to have road frontage. Maximum 5 lots, and can't be subdivided further without approval from the PC.

    The language of your ordinance seems very vague and I am assuming it's up to your PC to find out what special circumstances there are. This gives your PC a lot of discretion to start setting precedents where you'll quickly have those "special circumstances" defined for you if that's the case.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Doberman View post
    The language of your ordinance seems very vague and I am assuming it's up to your PC to find out what special circumstances there are. This gives your PC a lot of discretion to start setting precedents where you'll quickly have those "special circumstances" defined for you if that's the case.
    This is exactly what our attorney said. What are the special circumstances? I've left it up to the developer to submit a letter stating what they believe the special circumstances that warrant this division are. When I receive the letter, I'll determine if there are any circumstances that would make this particular division go the exempt route or planned (hint, there aren't any and I'll be denying the exempt application route). The developer gets it and wants to apparently do what's right so we shall see.

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