Valley Grande ordinance amendment shuts loophole

Published 9:06 pm Monday, March 16, 2009

The Valley Grande City Council amended a subdivision regulation to include the creation of two or more residential or commercial areas within a single tract of land for the purpose of leasing or future sale.

Mayor Tom Lee said citizens were allowing friends to set up shops or trailers on their land without selling the property. This means the city could not require the landowners to provide adequate roads, water lines and drainage for fire and safety purposes. With this amendment, the problem is solved, Lee said.

“There was a loophole,” Lee said. “We got to eliminate that.”

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Lee first learned about the problem when a citizen asked if a friend could set up a trailer on the edge of his property without purchasing it. Lee said he asked the man if there would be proper access to the trailer, and when the man said no, Lee reviewed the city’s subdivision ordinance. He said access for fire trucks and ambulances is one of his biggest concerns for the city.

“There’s no access,” Lee said. “We’re trying to stop that.”

Lee said it is not out of the ordinary for people to allow friends to build a shop or park a motor home on their land and only charge rent. Lee said the city needs the authority to regulate the division of large tracts of land.

“We’re concerned it’s possible somebody did that on a large tract of land and wasn’t required to provide adequate water lines, access roads and proper drainage,” Lee said.

Place 3 councilwoman Libby Ezelle said the amendment was mostly a preventative measure. She said the council wanted to take a proactive approach.

“I think it’s necessary we tighten our regulations to anticipate future problems that might arise,” Ezelle said.

Place 2 councilwoman Donna Downs said it is important for the council to double check the city’s regulations. Valley Grande was incorporated as a municipality in 2003.

“We need to make sure everything’s standard now before a problem arises,” Downs said.