By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
The Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance has been formatted and ready for the approval of the Tucker County Commission. The ordinance has been in the works for quite a few years. The Planning Commission has been working diligently to complete the SALDO and are closer now than they ever have been before. Prior submitted ordinances have been shot down by the Commissioners of Tucker County.
Planning Commission Secretary Robin McClintock constructed a power point presentation that will answer many questions the citizens of Tucker County may have regarding the ordinance. McClintock explained a County Planning Commission was made of eight volunteers from across the county. Their mission is research and advise the County Commissioners in making decisions about land issues within Tucker County but outside the five municipalities.
The five municipalities the ordinance does not pertain to are Davis, Hambleton, Hendricks, Parsons, and Thomas.
The definition of SALDO per West Virginia state code 8A-4-2 is a set of standards that ensure land development does not become a liability for the community and the county. An ordinance sets rules to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of the citizens outside the five municipalities with respect to new subdivisions.
Two types of subdivisions are minor and major. Minor subdivisions consist of a deeded property divided into five parcels or less and sold with infrastructure improvements to the general public. A major subdivision is a tract of land divided into six or more deeded parcels and sold to the general public for residential or commercial development that include infrastructure construction.
Improved deeded property and infrastructure include construction of new roads; supplying water; collecting, treating, and discharging wastewater; or providing access to utility services such as electricity, natural gas, or broadband.
The benefits of the ordinance to the residents of Tucker County include it assuring new roads will be wide enough to allow emergency vehicle access. The ordinance will place the burden of infrastructure expense on the developer not the county or residents as well protecting and preserving the value of the land throughout the county. The biggest benefit is the protection of the quality of life, culture, and environment.
Family farms are exempt. Dividing your farm among members of your family does not require filing a Subdivision Ordinance. Neither does family cemetery lots, minor boundary adjustments, utility or emergency service areas, improvements to homes, parking of campers, widening driveways or constructing and repairing fences.
More examples of situations that do NOT require filing with SALDO are:
- A farmer owns 200 acres of land and gives 11 deeded parcels to members of his family.
- One of the parcels remains undeveloped.
- One of the parcels are for agricultural use.
- One of the parcels builds a home. No filing with SALDO but do have to obtain permits from Department of Health and the Department of Highways. These permits are already state code.
- One lot of parcels is used for a utility hub
Examples of when the filing for a minor or major subdivision is required are:
- A family takes his allotted plot of land and divides it into four additional separate parcels with houses will have to file a Minor Subdivision application as well as permits from Department of Health and the Department of Highway.
- A land owner plans to take 200 acres and divide and sell those acres into 11 deeded parcels with houses. That landowner will be required to file a Major Subdivision application and permits from the Department of Highway and Department of Health.
The ordinance will now go back for a couple minor changes to wording and formatting before being presented to the Tucker County Commission. The ordinance rest solely on the approval of the Commissioners and can not be voted on by the residents of the county. Once the ordinance is enacted making changes or amendments can only be done by the governing body after holding a public hearing with a public notice.
The next Tucker County Planning Commission is open to the public and will be held June 13, 2022, at 1 p.m. at the Davis Town Hall.