Transfer rules hurt landowners

Published 10:33 pm Friday, February 27, 2009

I was the lone opponent to the new Family Transfer Ordinance. I, for one, do not like to have local officials and city employees tell me what I can do or not do with my property, within reason.

We must have our property rights protected. We should have more rights than just the right to pay taxes.

What upset me the most was how the prior city regulation on Family Transfers even became a city ordinance. This ordinance was disapproved by a prior City Council in December 1998 and was then was sneaked into the UDO without public hearings.

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Thirteen paragraphs of changes did not make it any more palatable. This was a poorly written ordinance to start with, and now it is worse.

No other property owners are told they must hold land three years before they can divide, nor are they told their sons or daughters must hold it 10 years before they can sell it.

The City Council already has hired a lobbyist firm from Danville to get the Family Transfer Ordinance off the city charter, or at least make it optional for Suffolk. Why do we go to all this expense? Don’t we have lawyers in Suffolk qualified to lobby our state representatives.

When the city gets the approval from the state, you can bet they will drop this Family Transfer provision like a hot potato. Rural landowners will lose their right to divide their properties as they see fit.

I believe that none of our City Council members have actually read or understood this entire ordinance on Family Transfers. I believe they relied on the staff reports. The council has effectively killed the Family Transfer Provision of the state code.

The City Council, in trying to correct the abuses of a few, has hurt all rural property owners.