County to update housing ordinances:
R.V. temporary housing, small parcels for country homes, building codes

Send a link to a friend  Share

[March 08, 2016]  LINCOLN - On Wednesday, March 2, 2016 the Planning and Zoning Committee met to discuss new language for an R.V. Ordinance, lower acreage for residential zoning, and the need to set up building codes and standards for rural residences.

At the February Planning and Zoning meeting, the committee discussed whether to add new sections to the R.V. Ordinance and dwelling standards. Zoning Officer Will D'Andrea has been working on crafting new language for the ordinance.

D'Andrea said he is proposing some amendments to the ordinance on recreational vehicles and the definition of a dwelling. D'Andrea said recreational vehicles will be added to a list of what is not a dwelling. The ordinance will have a definition of an R.V. as a temporary and not a permanent residence. D'Andrea said the R.V. would need to be at least ten feet from another dwelling.

D'Andrea said he wants to add language to the section on building permits allowing an R.V. to be used as a temporary living unit for people rebuilding after a fire or disaster. The use of an R.V. as a residence shall cease after construction is completed.

Committee member Gene Rohlfs asked whether the ordinance would prevent people from living in an R.V. during the construction of a new house?

Committee member Kevin Bateman said it would just prevent people from using the R.V. as a permanent residence.

Committee member Chuck Ruben said using the terms "due to fire or disaster would prevent people from staying in an R.V. during new home construction. Ruben said adding the words "or a person constructing a new home" would allow the R.V. to be used as a temporary residence.

D'Andrea said the maximum length for the use of the R.V. as a dwelling shall be six months to a year. He said for longer time periods, people would need approval of the Planning and Zoning Committee, which could extend the time length if the need for such continuance is demonstrated.

Ruben said one year seems reasonable. Bateman said at the end one year, there should be a major structure standing. He said after that time, the board should choose how long to allow for an extension.

D'Andrea said the committee should also consider whether the zoning administrator would also require appropriate health department permits for water supply and sewage disposal as part of the condition of the permit. He said not all counties require that since it is a temporary situation.

Bateman said he would like to have that section in there so people are not just dumping sewage on the ground. Ruben said people will often drive the R.V. to a campground to dump the sewage and refill the water supply then come back. Both agreed the health department should be checking it.

Committee member Dave Blankenship said, since insurance companies often put people up in rental houses or hotels after fires or storm damage, he questions whether some of the rules are really needed. Bateman and committee member Emily Davenport both said keeping such rules in the ordinance avoids problems.

Bateman motioned they move the ordinance forward after the rewrites. It will go before the Logan County Zoning Board of Appeals in upcoming months.

Lower acreage residential zoning

The Committee next discussed lowering the acreage requirements for residential zoning. This topic was originally presented at the February meeting by Kevin Bateman and Dave Blankenship.

[to top of second column]

Bateman said he feels changing the requirements from five acres to two means that more people would be able to afford to build on what is still a decent sized property. D'Andrea said a Country Homes Ordinances allows for one acre lots to be sold. There still has to be 200 feet of frontage for the lot width.

County Engineer Bret Aukamp said if they change the ordinance to allow less than five acres, possible drainage issues and problems need to be considered.

Jared Brown of the Logan County Farm Bureau said drainage could even affect nearby areas.

D'Andrea said that the ordinance that lots should be at least five acres has been in place since 1974. One section of the ordinance provides for exceptions. This section allows for "Lots on tracts of less than five (5) acres if approved through the Conditional Use Procedure, and if proven by the petitioner that the parcel is not well suited for agriculture and will not adversely affect adjoining agricultural uses, or that the parcel was created by the acquisition of a public right-of-way and construction of a public street or highway."

Bateman said for now he just wants to strike the wording "is not well suited for agriculture." He said a farmer who wants to sell farmland to someone wanting to build should be able to do that.

Bateman said leaving the wording to "will not adversely affect the agriculture" should be left in. Ruben said that wording could be helpful to farmers.

D'Andrea said these changes will be presented to the Zoning Board of Appeals at the same public hearing as the R.V. Ordinance.

New business

The Planning and Zoning Committee is looking at establishing Building Codes and Standards for Rural Residences. D'Andrea said he has been looking at a 2010 document with questions to be addressed for building codes. There was discussion on how to enforce codes and whether a building inspector should be brought in. , Ruben observed that part of the set-up of rules is that there needs to be a means of enforcement.
Committee chairman Pat O'Neill asked D'Andrea his thoughts on the issue.

D'Andrea said setting up codes makes sense because it is a public health and safety issue. He said, "I have not worked anywhere that did not have some kind of enforcement mechanism for inspections."

The committee will continue discussion on building codes in upcoming meetings.

The next Planning and Zoning Committee meeting will be Wednesday, April 6, 2016.

[Angela Reiners]

Back to top