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Archive for Thursday, November 5, 1998

COUNTY BANS PRIVATE ROADS

November 5, 1998

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Douglas County commissioners vote to outlaw private roads as part of a package of proposals designed to help planners better manage rural growth.

The private road is no more.

After a month of consideration, Douglas County commissioners approved an amendment Wednesday evening putting an end to private roads, which they have said have led to rural subdivisions without review.

At the onset of their meeting, commissioners asked Lawrence-Douglas County planning director Linda Finger what hardships they would create if the county put a stop to private roads.

"Tell me the harm we're doing," board member Mark Buhler asked. "I'm trying to think what kind of damage we'd create, and I mean that honestly."

Finger said private roads aren't a make-or-break part of the development process.

"They're an additional perk," she said, with Buhler nodding his head in agreement.

And that perk has allowed developers and property owners to avoid platting, zoning and codes director Keith Dabney kicked in.

Under current regulations, the commission can approve private roads to serve a land-locked residence. A private road can serve no more than three residences.

"Historically, this has been used to supplement the five-acre exemption section to promote residential growth and property divisions in the unincorporated areas without platting," a memo from planning staff to commissioners said, referring to the "five-acre exemption," which allows landowners to develop five acres without platting.

Under the new amendment, private roads are not permitted, but a private drive serving one residence is allowed.

Also part of the new rules:

  • A lesser road standard for public roads serving up to four residences will be provided as an alternative.
  • Development costs for building such a public road would be less than development to the current rock standards.
  • Maintenance costs for public roads are the responsibility of the township.

-- Deb Gruver's phone message number is 832-7165. Her e-mail address is dgruver@ljworld.com.

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