Family transfers too restrictive

Published 9:52 pm Wednesday, February 25, 2009

As if government doesn’t put their nose in private property owners’ business enough as it is, the city of Suffolk got a little bit closer with the passing of a new family transfer ordinance at Wednesday’s city council meeting.

The approval of the ordinance wasn’t in defiance against property owners, and is a result of what we deem as good intentions to clean up some language in what was already a dysfunctional ordinance at best. The council is attempting to keep people from economic gain by means of disseminating property to family members, who then turn to developers for profit making projects.

The changes, though, to the ordinance include adding a purpose and intent statement, excluding minors from receiving a transfer of land, and allowing city council to grant a variance for an unforeseeable change in circumstances. The changes also make family transfers valid only in areas zoned agricultural, rural residential or rural estate, and require plats to be eligible for both a septic system and well.

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The lone advocate against the new ordinance at the council’s public hearing argued that the city would be violating personal property rights due to the fees associated with getting various permits. Although, there will be additional costs associated with the new ordinance, what is more unsettling is the closer that government is getting to controlling what a private resident can do with their own land.