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who rules in the court of law?

Bryant

Registered User
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
102
Location
Virginia
synapse of the dilemma;
A1 land use (farm)approved for a cluster subdivision (40% sacrificed for open land spaces) for clustering of SFD's. Site plan approved with that condition. Open land spaces were for the community and with equal access, 8' pedestrian pathways between the parcels (OLS). So whether you have only the 1 1/2 acre building lot only or if your lot abuts the OLS, everyone has equal access to the open land spaces, county approved it this way. Owner of the land and by proxy to the open land spaces, since no one owns the OLS at that time in the subdivision, the owner creates a declarant to the affect of doing what was stated above, all could use, can have a barn of certain colors, gardening, chickens without roosters and so on with the most important part. no denuding within 15 feet of abutters property line, a permit for denuding more than 30% required. All good until the owner creates another declarant and basically abolishes everything that he original declarant required and including what was originally approved by the county and sells the OLS to each owner whose lot abut s the OLS.
By nullifying the declarant and the approved development plan, it as in affect removed all the requirements for open land space preservation and the purpose for clustering of homes in a subdivision to begin with.

Is it legal now?
Farm turned into cluster subdivision, back into farm, one owner has 8.5 acres of open land space all to his self, a far cry from the original approved plan....
 

Mark K

Platinum Member
Joined
May 12, 2010
Messages
1,758
This is a zoning/planning issue and not a building code issue.

You need to hire a real estate attorney.
 

cda

Sawhorse 123
Joined
Oct 19, 2009
Messages
19,670
Location
Basement
synapse of the dilemma;
A1 land use (farm)approved for a cluster subdivision (40% sacrificed for open land spaces) for clustering of SFD's. Site plan approved with that condition. Open land spaces were for the community and with equal access, 8' pedestrian pathways between the parcels (OLS). So whether you have only the 1 1/2 acre building lot only or if your lot abuts the OLS, everyone has equal access to the open land spaces, county approved it this way. Owner of the land and by proxy to the open land spaces, since no one owns the OLS at that time in the subdivision, the owner creates a declarant to the affect of doing what was stated above, all could use, can have a barn of certain colors, gardening, chickens without roosters and so on with the most important part. no denuding within 15 feet of abutters property line, a permit for denuding more than 30% required. All good until the owner creates another declarant and basically abolishes everything that he original declarant required and including what was originally approved by the county and sells the OLS to each owner whose lot abut s the OLS.
By nullifying the declarant and the approved development plan, it as in affect removed all the requirements for open land space preservation and the purpose for clustering of homes in a subdivision to begin with.

Is it legal now?
Farm turned into cluster subdivision, back into farm, one owner has 8.5 acres of open land space all to his self, a far cry from the original approved plan....

Is the city involved in anyway in these agreements??
 

Bryant

Registered User
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
102
Location
Virginia
Well doggie, pleasantly surprised that I get more hits on a topic outside of the building codes. I will have to prepare better building code questions on the next topic.

So, the topic of the thread is a shot across the bow of how simple things wind up being decided in a court of law by a judge who more than likely is oblivious of the content of the subject matter.

@Mark K & fatboy, thought it appropriate to post here, this is a planning & zoning thread is it not? I understand the concern of offering legal advice where none is asked or given. This a Q & A session on planning & zoning. I am truly amazed how much real estate power jurisdictions give to the folks who are into urbanization of farmland.
The location is in a county 40 clicks south from our nation's capitol in the old dominion.
The real question to ask is based on the information I espoused is, is this subdivision in compliance with state and local code? Is this subdivision in conformance with the county approved site development plan or in nonconformance?
I say nonconformance based on what I have given in the opening thread.

What is screwy and hard to grasp because of the smoke and mirrors is land disturbance.
The whole point of creating a cluster subdivision was to tightly pack houses together in order to get more bang for the buck in SFD's. you do so by ratio of land disturbance. One problem early on with this new genesis was the developers were using wetlands, easements and other cliffs to get the 40% ratio needed in the totality of the land. all fine and dandy. By law a home on 3 acres in agriculture land is allowed, though water and sewer is the driver, more so for septic systems hence the clustering of SFD's on 1 1/2 acre building lots and sacrificing the rest for preserving the rural character of the land, yeah right.
You're probably wondering why this is not inside an urban service area with water and sewer connection.....It is inside an urban service area without water and sewer provided !

The homeowners (just as well say members) are in an inclusive club of use of the open land space as allowed for the farmer in you senario. still good for everyone inside the club.
That club by the way required restrictions on how the open land spaces were to be used. So for example, no denuding of the forest without a permit at 30 % I believe. This would be for something such as the folks wanting to build a playground or garden house, planters beds, chickens without roosters, uses such as these that could have someone with a farm tractor to shape it out, no fuss here with that, everyone is entitled to the use even the lots that do not abut to the open land spaces, hence the 8 foot pedestrian easement between the lots that abut the open land spaces. In other words all could use the land based on the principle of cluster subdivisioning.

However the developer decided to go a step further and create a HOA with covenants to the open land spaces, hence the socialist city mentality where everybody partakes of the fruit of the land, still no fuss. In fact the developer went further and created a declarant thru the local court with this, this, that, a members only club, more restrictive than the open land space requirements.
for example no denuding of land within 15 feet of the abutters property line (land outside of the subdivision).

Well that's all out of the window now before the last house is issued a CO. The developer made another declarant and abolished the HOA and ALL land uses. Set it up for the homeowners whose property abutted the open land space to purchase and sold it on the very cheap and now the owner can denude away and do whatever was allowed for a farm. I asked the question to my local county's planning & zoning dept. for land denuding (grazed down to nothing, which brings up erosion issues!!) on what is the difference between getting a bush hog for the day to denude or a $100 push mower with clippers and industrious homeowner? You could hear a pin drop....There are no billy goats here. What's the difference I ask? There is none

How do you go from a farm, to clsutersubdivsion and back to a 10 acre farm? I do not see how this is in conformance with state regulations based on my understanding of the processes for cluster subdivision.
The county approved development plan had all the signatures and land use declarations including open land spaces and uses, including an 8 ft. pedestrian pathway between the lots to get to the open land spaces, and now its nothing, gone, never existed. It is in nonconformance to state and local regulations & code. I probably should have done the survey question for edification. Just looking for angle to expose this hypocrisy.......
 

TheCommish

Sawhorse
Joined
Sep 27, 2011
Messages
1,216
Location
Charlton Ma
Like Tip O'Neill said about politics, all zoning is local, so what is allowed on one side of the street may not be allowed on the other side of the street. Then there is the process for changing a zone, somewhat like writing code = making sausage. Also public process heald in the public form by wizards wth the public invited by newspaper advertisement which few read.
 

cda

Sawhorse 123
Joined
Oct 19, 2009
Messages
19,670
Location
Basement
Well doggie, pleasantly surprised that I get more hits on a topic outside of the building codes. I will have to prepare better building code questions on the next topic.

So, the topic of the thread is a shot across the bow of how simple things wind up being decided in a court of law by a judge who more than likely is oblivious of the content of the subject matter.

@Mark K & fatboy, thought it appropriate to post here, this is a planning & zoning thread is it not? I understand the concern of offering legal advice where none is asked or given. This a Q & A session on planning & zoning. I am truly amazed how much real estate power jurisdictions give to the folks who are into urbanization of farmland.
The location is in a county 40 clicks south from our nation's capitol in the old dominion.
The real question to ask is based on the information I espoused is, is this subdivision in compliance with state and local code? Is this subdivision in conformance with the county approved site development plan or in nonconformance?
I say nonconformance based on what I have given in the opening thread.

What is screwy and hard to grasp because of the smoke and mirrors is land disturbance.
The whole point of creating a cluster subdivision was to tightly pack houses together in order to get more bang for the buck in SFD's. you do so by ratio of land disturbance. One problem early on with this new genesis was the developers were using wetlands, easements and other cliffs to get the 40% ratio needed in the totality of the land. all fine and dandy. By law a home on 3 acres in agriculture land is allowed, though water and sewer is the driver, more so for septic systems hence the clustering of SFD's on 1 1/2 acre building lots and sacrificing the rest for preserving the rural character of the land, yeah right.
You're probably wondering why this is not inside an urban service area with water and sewer connection.....It is inside an urban service area without water and sewer provided !

The homeowners (just as well say members) are in an inclusive club of use of the open land space as allowed for the farmer in you senario. still good for everyone inside the club.
That club by the way required restrictions on how the open land spaces were to be used. So for example, no denuding of the forest without a permit at 30 % I believe. This would be for something such as the folks wanting to build a playground or garden house, planters beds, chickens without roosters, uses such as these that could have someone with a farm tractor to shape it out, no fuss here with that, everyone is entitled to the use even the lots that do not abut to the open land spaces, hence the 8 foot pedestrian easement between the lots that abut the open land spaces. In other words all could use the land based on the principle of cluster subdivisioning.

However the developer decided to go a step further and create a HOA with covenants to the open land spaces, hence the socialist city mentality where everybody partakes of the fruit of the land, still no fuss. In fact the developer went further and created a declarant thru the local court with this, this, that, a members only club, more restrictive than the open land space requirements.
for example no denuding of land within 15 feet of the abutters property line (land outside of the subdivision).

Well that's all out of the window now before the last house is issued a CO. The developer made another declarant and abolished the HOA and ALL land uses. Set it up for the homeowners whose property abutted the open land space to purchase and sold it on the very cheap and now the owner can denude away and do whatever was allowed for a farm. I asked the question to my local county's planning & zoning dept. for land denuding (grazed down to nothing, which brings up erosion issues!!) on what is the difference between getting a bush hog for the day to denude or a $100 push mower with clippers and industrious homeowner? You could hear a pin drop....There are no billy goats here. What's the difference I ask? There is none

How do you go from a farm, to clsutersubdivsion and back to a 10 acre farm? I do not see how this is in conformance with state regulations based on my understanding of the processes for cluster subdivision.
The county approved development plan had all the signatures and land use declarations including open land spaces and uses, including an 8 ft. pedestrian pathway between the lots to get to the open land spaces, and now its nothing, gone, never existed. It is in nonconformance to state and local regulations & code. I probably should have done the survey question for edification. Just looking for angle to expose this hypocrisy.......

So whatever AHJ over this

Did they have to approve the changes?

Did they approve the changes?
 

fatboy

Administrator
Joined
Oct 17, 2009
Messages
6,162
Location
Northern CO
"@Mark K & fatboy, thought it appropriate to post here, this is a planning & zoning thread is it not? I understand the concern of offering legal advice where none is asked or given. This a Q & A session on planning & zoning. I am truly amazed how much real estate power jurisdictions give to the folks who are into urbanization of farmland."

Sorry if I made it sound like that, but I wasn't questioning where it was posted, just that it is a whole lot of territory for this dumb ol' carpenter to cover, and with judges anymore, Lord knows where it could end up. :eek:
 

Bryant

Registered User
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
102
Location
Virginia
So whatever AHJ over this

Did they have to approve the changes?

Did they approve the changes?
No nothing, brought it to the attention of the district supervisor, fell on deaf ears..... The changes were not amended from the original approved plans
 

Bryant

Registered User
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
102
Location
Virginia
"@Mark K & fatboy, thought it appropriate to post here, this is a planning & zoning thread is it not? I understand the concern of offering legal advice where none is asked or given. This a Q & A session on planning & zoning. I am truly amazed how much real estate power jurisdictions give to the folks who are into urbanization of farmland."

Sorry if I made it sound like that, but I wasn't questioning where it was posted, just that it is a whole lot of territory for this dumb ol' carpenter to cover, and with judges anymore, Lord knows where it could end up. :eek:
I'm positive it is nonconforming to the approved plan. Don't sweat it, i'm out of my league on this one too, but it's personal so the interest in the process. Ironically the zoning department doesn't get involved with HOA's, but they approved the plan and the plan is not in conformance to the conditions agreed upon. Ultimately I will have to throw good money after bad money to take the issue up in a court, unless the county does the right thing and call it out, otherwise, nothing will happen.
 

cda

Sawhorse 123
Joined
Oct 19, 2009
Messages
19,670
Location
Basement
No nothing, brought it to the attention of the district supervisor, fell on deaf ears..... The changes were not amended from the original approved plans


So the ahj does not have to approve changes, as in paperwork submitted to the city/ ahj, for review and public hearings???
 

Bryant

Registered User
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
102
Location
Virginia
So the ahj does not have to approve changes, as in paperwork submitted to the city/ ahj, for review and public hearings???
It would be under the watch of the zoning director. it's all smoke and mirrors and the taxpayers are getting screwed, since the open land space is now private property bought on the cheap. You can't get 2 1/2 acres in Stafford for 15K.....:mad:
 

tmurray

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Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
2,003
Location
NB, Canada
So, the way this would happen here:

The developer would enter into a developers agreement with us (the municipality). This would include what the land is to be used for in the case of any green space. This agreement is registered against all properties affected (all properties created by the subdivision). Any deviation from this agreement would need approval from us in the form of an amended agreement. Any legal declarations subsequent to the developers agreement that violate its conditions would be held as not enforceable.
 
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Bryant

Registered User
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
102
Location
Virginia
So, the way this would happen here:

The developer would enter into a developers agreement with us (the municipality). This would include what the land is to be used for in the case of any green space. This agreement is registered against all properties affected (all properties created by the subdivision). Any deviation from this agreement would need approval from us in the form of an amended agreement. Any legal declarations subsequent to the developers agreement that violate its conditions would be held as not enforceable.
Like your style. Gives me something more to think upon. For one the land was a farm, sold to a developer, developer sells to builder and builder to homeowners. All along, the thing was deemed cluster subdivision (supporting documentation and approved that way). When I asked the person whos on the commissioned county appointed zoning guru. It was indicated to me that it was done by traditional methods, (basically 1 house on 3 acres) instead of the cluster concept. Why do all the land calculations if your going to do it by traditional methods, I would have asked.
Any rate the declarations are making the state regulations null and void, especially in the open land spaces. Now the new home owner can denude unabated by the court approved declarant. Seems to me the legislative branch ( local court) has usurped their authority over the executive branch (county government) and nullified state code to what was once a plan in conformance before the extracurricular activities of the developer and builder.....
 

VillageInspector

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Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Messages
208
Location
Dutchess County, New York, United States
Like your style. Gives me something more to think upon. For one the land was a farm, sold to a developer, developer sells to builder and builder to homeowners. All along, the thing was deemed cluster subdivision (supporting documentation and approved that way). When I asked the person whos on the commissioned county appointed zoning guru. It was indicated to me that it was done by traditional methods, (basically 1 house on 3 acres) instead of the cluster concept. Why do all the land calculations if your going to do it by traditional methods, I would have asked.
Any rate the declarations are making the state regulations null and void, especially in the open land spaces. Now the new home owner can denude unabated by the court approved declarant. Seems to me the legislative branch ( local court) has usurped their authority over the executive branch (county government) and nullified state code to what was once a plan in conformance before the extracurricular activities of the developer and builder.....

Seems like you are getting things mixed up such as " legislative branch ( local court)" legislature is the legislative branch, the courts are the judicial branch and the executive branch is the branch of government that is separate from the other two but at the same level of government not a superior government necessarily. That being said I am not familiar with Stafford so i don't know if its the backwoods of Virginia or not but I would be willing to bet if you follow the trail sufficiently you will most likely discover a site plan change made at some juncture otherwise you are dealing with truly shady government operation.
 

Bryant

Registered User
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
102
Location
Virginia
correct judicial branch signing off against the executive branch of local government That is the rub, the judge signed off on a declaration that has rendered the approve construction plan null....
 
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