The Immediate Family Exemption land development regulation was back before the county commission at their last meeting meeting of 2013.
The regulation was allowed to sunset two years ago when the amendment expired and was not renewed.
That regulation enabled family members to deed a minimum of one acre of land and up to three parcels of land to defined immediate family members.
In reviewing the county’s Comprehensive Plan, Allara Mills Gutcher, Planning and Community Development Director for the county, and Robert Presnell, County Administrator, found although the regulation is no longer valid, the language has not been removed from the Code.
They recommended that it be revised and a new regulation be installed.
Their recommended regulation will strike the sunset language and renew the ability for persons to deed a minimum of three acres to an immediate family member. The property must be homesteaded for a minimum of three years provided that the remaining (parent property) be at least three acres as well.
The regulation includes wording that only three divisions can be made (breaking the original property into four pieces). This exemption, it was stated, would apply to Agriculture Zoned land only.
It was explained that this amendment would reintroduce the language into the Land Development Regulations with no expiration or sunset date.
The planning and zoning board turned the request down in a 8-4 decision.
A number of residents responded to the regulation.
Resident Michael Dorian said the new regulation would create urban sprawl by allowing a non-conforming subdivision to be built.
He said that the county should workshop this item before it made a decision.
Dorian also had concerns that the creation of these lots would not invoke the Citizens Bill of Rights, which allows neighbors the opportunity to be contacted about land use changes.
Resident Diane Sheffield, a P&Z member, said the regulation was allowed to sunset for a reason.
She explained that many times property ended up not having family members living on it and being sold.
Sheffield said the county should not go back and re-adopt what was a big problem.
Family members declining to homestead the property and then asking to sell the property at a later date was the most common problem, resident Anthony Arnold said.
Resident Marion Lasley stated that the regulation leans toward no protection for homeowners.
Resident Larry Ganus a P&Z member also, said they needed more information, especially about the number of requests that have been made since the former rule was allowed to sunset.
Commissioner Doug Croley said this had been an ongoing problem. “It just doesn’t work,” he said.
Commissioner Holt said there were two sides to the issue. “So one size doesn’t fit all,” she said.
Holt used an example of someone who owns 27 acres in Ag. 3 zoned land (one home per 20 acres) not being able to sell their child any land because of the zoning.
She said she was in favor of the request.
Commissioner Gene Morgan said there were valid arguments on both sides, but the cons far outweighed approving this regulation.
Commissioner Sherrie Taylor said there was no more land being made and they should not just sit on land. Taylor said houses meant revenue for the county.
Chairman Eric Hinson asked for a workshop on the matter but a vote was taken instead.
The board approved the exemption in a 3-2 vote with Croley and Morgan voting against it.