City cracks down on transfer violators

Published 8:24 pm Saturday, May 9, 2009

The city is cracking down on people it believes have violated the family transfer ordinance, according to a letter from the city manager to the City Council last week.

Letters of violation will be sent in the “near future” to people who subdivided properties on Manning Road and Longstreet Lane via the family transfer ordinance, City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn said in a May 4 email to council members. The alleged violations were investigated by the Department of Planning and Community Development, Cuffee-Glenn stated in the e-mail. She did not say how the ordinance was violated or what penalty, if any, would be imposed on the homeowners — only that the city attorney’s office would be working on legal issues that arise, based on the letters of violation.

The city manager also noted that staff members are investigating other potential violations of the family transfer provisions.

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The family transfer section of the Unified Development Ordinance is intended to allow landowners in rural areas of the city to subdivide their parcel to give to a member of their immediate family, as long as certain conditions are met. The matter last came before council on Feb. 18, when it voted 6-2 to make a number of changes to the ordinance.

The section has been a controversial one since its installation, with numerous residents — and some council members — saying that it detracts from property owners’ rights.

One of the changes passed in February was to allow council to grant a variance in the required 10-year holding period after the transfer for an unforeseen change in circumstance. The lack of such allowance in the past was a bone of contention for a handful of residents who found themselves with changes in circumstances, but unable to sell their land.