Transfer rule too complicated

Published 8:49 pm Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I became interested in the Family Transfer Ordinance after using it in 1996 to give my daughter a one-acre piece of my land to build on. I thought the process was unnecessarily difficult.

The state code on family transfers is less than two paragraphs in length. The proposed city code, with all its unnecessary restrictions, is three pages long. Why is this necessary? A property owner’s right to use his property as he chooses should not be infringed upon.

The present family transfer ordinance was rejected by a previous City Council on Dec. 18, 1996. That rejected ordinance was then slipped unnoticed into the new Unified Development Ordinance without any public hearing, and that has led to these unnecessarily restrictive family transfer rules that have caused so much controversy.

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The provision requiring a landowner to hold his property for five or 10 years before he can sell or give it away are wrong. The provision requiring the recipient of land to hold it for five or 10 years before he can sell it is also wrong. The city’s only interest in property should be to see that the owners of property pay their taxes.

The planning director should be the final approving authority for minor subdivisions and family transfers. Why should a landowner have to go to the planning department for approval and then have to go to the Planning Commission to get a second approval? This is an unnecessary step.

In the past, the city has approved as many as 900 building permits a year, of which only 23 were family transfers. Why does the city want to crack down on them?

If someone has abused the Family Transfer Ordinance as written, the city attorney should get involved. The rest of us law-abiding citizens who own land should be left alone.