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County hears first subdivision exemption request

The commissioners have heard their first request for an exemption to the county’s new rules for subdivisions over 35 acres in size. However, due to the need for more information, a decision has been tabled until January.

According to the new rules, which come into effect this month, there is a list of exemptions that can be requested by an applicant. For example, an exemption may be possible if the land is greater than 140 acres in size or the applicant is only requesting a boundary adjustment.

The owner of any land that has not been changed since 2008 also has the right to claim an exemption.

Numerous subdivisions within the county have been in existence for years, and many already have a plat and covenants and, in some cases, an improvement district. Even though these may not have been developed before 2008, said County Attorney Joe Baron during the hearing for the new rules, they will not be required to make any changes if they “substantially conform” to the new rules, and exemptions can be granted as needed.

An application for an exemption is now available, said Baron last week, and must then be approved by the county commissioner. It’s up to the person who petitions for the exemption to then prove why they qualify for the particular exemption in question and why it should be approved.

Last week, Garry Davis approached the commissioners regarding a request for an exemption for his land, which he has owned with his business partner since 1998.

“When we originally bought this place, it was 320 acres,” said Davis. “…My partner and I bought it and subdivided it into the original nine tracts.”

The parcel has grown since that time. Now, he said, the two are aiming to split the land into almost equal portions of 496 and 497 acres and would like it grandfathered in before they do so.

A homeowner’s association and covenants have already been developed for the tracts of land on the parcel that have been or will be sold. The plat was created in 2008, but was not recorded.

“At that time, there was not a requirement that you record your survey plat prior to selling 35-acre tracts,” said Davis.

While the commission was happy to consider his request, Baron felt that more information should be provided regarding which parts of the land will be sold.

“We need to have a map of what’s included and what’s not,” said Baron.

Davis will appear again on the agenda in January for the commissioners to make a decision.

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