Click here for more opinions
County violates landowners' rights - Comments (1) View Comments
Carole McWilliams - 4/11/2008
When is it appropriate for county planners to tell you where to build your house on your land?
When rural subdivisions go through the approval process, county planning staff often require designated building envelopes on the lots, with the homesites clustered as much as possible.
Anyone who buys those lots buys into those restrictions.
Unfortunately, planning staffers also try to impose such restrictions after the fact, namely when a landowner applies to build a second home on one parcel. County rules say the second house has to be within 150 feet of the first one. Never mind where the landowner wants it.
I wrote about this a few months ago when the county commissioners voted 2-1 against a landowner’s appeal of this restriction.
In that case, the owner of 17 acres southwest of Bayfield planned a second house for a parent. They didn’t want to be looking into each others’ kitchen windows. Neither do most people who choose to live on large rural lots, I suspect.
In effect they were told to apply to split the parcel, with no guarantee of approval, if they want the houses farther apart.
The issue came up again recently. A family living on 40 acres in a remote area west of Ignacio wants to build a new house well away from the first one, because they are tired of listening to the gas compressor that’s near the first house.
But they have run up against this 150-foot rule – and the sensation of bureaucrats more interested in enforcing rules than in making local government work for the residents.
Both of these are cases of county regulators inserting themselves where they don’t belong. They aren’t the ones who paid for the land, who pay the taxes on it, who will pay to build the new house, and who will live in it.
These are not health or safety issues. They are personal preference.
And these aren’t three or five acre lots, where the 150-foot rule might make sense.
Especially with 40 acres in a remote area, this rule is ridiculous. What’s the point of having 40 acres if the houses have to be right close together – unless the people who are going to live in them want to be close, or the topography dictates that location.
People are told they can seek a variance. But variances aren’t easy to get. They require a showing of some sort of hardship that’s nor self-imposed or merely inconvenient.
Personal preference probably doesn’t count. Neither do the situations where the thing someone is proposing just makes more sense than following the exact rules.
This is the current land use code. The county is still working on its new land use code. This 150-foot-rule should be omitted. It’s the sort of intrusion that creates hostility to county land use regulations, even where they are warranted.
1/24/2014 War on Poverty has become war on the poor
1/9/2014 We're still here!
1/2/2014 Gay marriage, pot illustrate changing society
5/24/2013 Why do we fight cancer with bake sales?
3/25/2013 Bill of Rights is crucial to U.S. citizens
9/22/2011 Picking on the Rich
9/9/2011 Has it really been 10 years??
9/8/2011 The Age of Misinformation?
9/8/2011 Nothing like the open road to clear the mind
8/18/2011 Local government should reflect local concerns
8/11/2011 Woe to Our Culture
7/29/2011 Times welcomes all opinions
7/22/2011 Kudos, prayers deserved after Sunday morning collision
7/22/2011 2004 and 2011: same debt debate, but roles reversed
4/1/2011 Hug your kids and remember Shaniah
2/11/2011 Statement from Matthew J. Box, Chairman of the Southern Ute Tribe.
1/14/2011 Time to take a long, hard look in the mirror, America
11/5/2010 Juan Williams firing about money, not free speech
6/10/2010 A real balanced budget means nothing is sacred
3/26/2010 Let’s give medical marijuana a chance
2/5/2010 Will there be a convention to reconstitute the U. S. Constitution?
1/8/2010 Would you trust your healthcare to a bunch of mules?
11/23/2009 We're still hanging in there!
10/2/2009 Thanks for making Bayfield Heritage Days a success
8/7/2009 Summer's over, but future beckons for youth
7/16/2009 How I spent my summer vacation
7/3/2009 Have a great Independence Day!
6/26/3009 Mill Street is still a downtown gem
6/19/2009 Healthcare reform should not benefit only insurance companies
6/12/2009 A recreation center in Bayfield? Let's get real
5/1/2009 Go kids, go!
4/17/2009 Want to be a part of our community?
4/3/2009 What is the future of newspapers?
3/20/2009 Turning off the lights for an hour is silly
3/13/2009 Should your access issues affect my property?
1/30/2009 Please immunize your kids
1/23/2009 Welcome, President Obama!
11/7/2008 Leave my trash alone, thank you
8/15/2008 Investing in kids is good for our future
7/3/2008 King George and President George - it's easy to confuse the two on July 4
6/27/2008 Supreme Court denies Bush's power grab
5/23/2008 U.S. is heading in the wrong direction
4/25/2008 Republicans entertained by Democrats
4/18/2008 Insurance doesn't mean health care
4/11/2008 County violates landowners' rights
2/21/2008 Waterboarding could be Bush's Watergate