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Supervisors mull breaks for minor subdivisions’

[6/4/04]Potential changes discussed Thursday could mean “minor subdivisions” in Warren County would not have to follow some of the provisions being considered by supervisors.

Warren County supervisors in April adopted a proposed set of subdivision regulations designed to add more orderly planning and preparation for county housing developments.

Chief among the purposes are specifications dealing with roads and drainage systems that the county may later be asked to maintain.

The regulations contain processes through which a developer of a proposed subdivision must receive approval from supervisors.

The revisions discussed Thursday stemmed from comments made at a public hearing May 17.

One of the questions was whether a landowner planning to divide a tract on an existing county road, providing access only through driveways and with no internal streets, would have to comply with all of the plan and plat provisions of the proposed ordinance.

“If he has internal streets, he should have to comply with the ordinance,” county engineer John McKee told the board.

However, he said, the board could add a provision to the ordinance for what are called minor subdivisions governing cases where only driveway permits would apply. They could also require a simple professional surveyor’s plat to be filed.

“I think we need a minor subdivision provision,” said District 1 Supervisor David McDonald.

Another topic discussed dealt with streets in mobile home parks and whether they should be subject to the same road regulations as a regular subdivision.

McDonald suggested the solution may be whether the developer is planning to rent the lots or to sell them.

“If a person is renting a spot and the street’s not kept up, they are going to call their landlord. But if they own that lot in there, they are going to call the county,” he said.

McKee suggested a two-year period in which a developer is responsible for maintenance of roads and drainage, adding that should give ample time for problems with those features to show up before the county took over the road.

He also suggested a change to require a performance bond for the road before the running surface is applied and a second one for the final layer of asphalt . He also said it was a good idea to drop the bond required to endure maintenance from 100 percent of the cost of construction to 50 percent because only some really catastrophic failure would require spending the larger amount.

McKee said he would compile those changes and some others into a document the board could look at before considering final adoption of the ordinance.

If and when the board adopts the ordinance, it could not go into effect for at least 30 days. They also could set a later effective date.

Also, the new ordinance would not affect existing subdivisions.