We've got a 30-house housing development going in on our street. It's taking up 60 acres, with each house getting a 1-acre plot and the other 30 acres being natural preserve and "open area" (whatever that means).
Since we live in a part of our county that is mandated to be 5+acre plots to preserve wildlife and "rural character," they get away with these "rural cluster developments" because they concentrate the houses and the roads and have preserved areas to "preserve rural characters."
What they do in these "rural cluster developments" is CLEAR OUT EACH ACRE of LAND to make into a lawn, and plop a giant house on it. It drives me NUTS, for so many reasons.
Here's a picture of one of those ugly houses (more pictures here)
And another hideous house, in that same development. It's 2,500sqft of roofing, as it's only one story. Probably actually more roofing than that, because of the garage. What a huge, expensive, unnessiary house (more pictures here
These developments drive me crazy. I wouldn't mind having a development where the plots weren't turned into solid grass and people were actually allowed to do what they want on their land, but that's not what happens with the developments. It makes me want to cry and scream as I watch each tree knocked down.
Tyler Ludens wrote:Good Dog, those are ugly houses!
They really are! I'm not looking forward to having such eyesores in my neighborhood, though that's really the very least of my concerns. But, come on, for $700,000+, at least they could make them look pretty?
There is a development going in about 1.5 miles from my place along a bike trail I take to work. They removed all the vegetation and literally removed every small hill and variation in the land. They then used some of the soil to even further level it all. The whole area was then compacted by heavy equipment until today it is this huge bare expanse that is completely level. All this so they can plop their cookie cutter homes down on top...
It makes me so sick. In another area, that's not "rural" (it's in the "urban growth area"), they flattened and leveled each individual plot, putting up retaining walls between each property to keep them all individually level. I can't imagine that's the most stable way to build a house, especially in an earthquake are. Who thought, "let's just build a bunch of homes on leveled out fill that's held up by a retaining wall, in an area due to have a level 9.0+ earthquake"???
Here's the development, not that they show you any of the surrounding area, because it's ugly. https://www.redfin.com/WA/Monroe/20548-134th-St-SE-98272/home/146093520 the house is 3,000+ sqft, on a 5,000sqft plot. Kids don't need a yard or nature to play in, they obviously need a giant house.
The area they leveled used to be about 10feet bellow the level of the bike trail at the start and then equal to the bike trail at the end. Now at the start it is about 5 feet higher than the trail... at the edge of the buffer between the development and the trail it just drops down to the original level...
The soils there are mostly clay too. With all the compaction they are doing and making it level I'm sure there is going to be water issues. Plus as you said I can't imagine this being stable in an earthquake...
I wish I had the money to buy up the land surrounding mine so I could make sure no developments went in...
Only bright side is the organization I work for does just that. I'm getting ready this morning to drive out to a 312 acre property that has over 100 acres of wetlands including a lot of beaver ponds and salmon streams. This was going to be developed into a ton of houses but the organization I work for bought it a few years ago and I have been restoring it (removing culverts and planting native veg in a few areas that had been degraded). We now own it and will keep it as a nature preserve. There are some old access roads that we are maintaining for hiking and other low impact activities. So far we have protected around 7,500 acres of land. When I get frustrated about development at least my work helps me feel a little better.
I plan on putting a conservation easement on my land in the future to ensure it can never be developed or degraded.
I just checked our counties permit and zoning map, and there's planned to be another
When I looked at the plat map for the 30 house development going in now, it shows a round-a-bout at the south side of it (which is the side that connects to the 137 acre development area), and it has wording saying "Add to this note "to be extinguished when the road is extended to the satisfaction of the County." I thought I saw somewhere, too, about it becoming public, but maybe the county will just extend the private road all the way up through the development?
I work for a land trust. I will need to look up the land trust in your area. You can look up the Washington Association of Land Trusts too to see which one works in your area. Then you would need to start a conversation with them.
It is not an easy process but can be worth it. You want an organization to hold your easement that is stable and takes it seriously. They should do a once a year monitoring to make sure there are no violations. Might not be needed while you are living there but if you move then it would apply to the next owner and they might not be so good.
Some easements are more limiting than others but they are all negotiated with the current owner and the organization that will be holding and enforcing the easement. Pick a good organization and it should work out. You still own your property the organization just holds the rights you sold or donated and ensures no one violates the terms of the easements.
Development rights, timber harvest, where houses can be built, etc. All these can be part of a conservation easement.
I plan on donating a fairly restrictive easement in the future once my land is all setup.
Our land extends to the middle of our county road, and there is an easement granted by previous owners, which conveys with the land.
indeed. I don't know what to add, except that... that really sucks. And I feel for you. I would definitely petition or go door to door with your existing actual rural neighbors and go with your concerns to your County. Unfortunately the county is looking to increase it's tax base and is unlikely to go against a new developer who is increasing the 'rural' population. This is not rural development, it is sub-urban. Get that into their heads.
Meanwhile I was chortling last week about the fact that my tomato hornworm issue this year has taken a very peculiar turn. I've had half a dozen different plants turn up with the characteristic hornworm damage on a single branch, but when I look... no hornworm! And the damage never spreads. "They" say nothing eats hornworms, and I don't know what's eating mine, but my garden seems to be an unhealthy place for them. I *think* it's the huge flock of cardinals living in my yard this year due to the fact that nothing got mowed, but that's just a guess.
But, in these housing developments, people usually aren't allowed to do any of those things. They are forces to have non-edible plants and giant lawns that take lots of resources to maintain, and provide little-to-no habitat. And, when more and more of the property in my area is in housing developments, less and less people have choices to have any other sort of place to live.
And, these housing developments are able to get around all the rules that everyone else has to play by. Anyone who isn't a developer can't buy, say, 1 acre or 1/4 acre out here. They need to find 5 acre plots to build their homes. For every undeveloped 5-acre parcel of land, there's at least 30 HOA homes that newly built. And, for every home that's not in an HOA, there's probably 3-5 that are.
To make matters more complicated, a normal person couldn't buy 60 acres of land to have as an intentional community of 30 tiny homes where people wildcraft and grow their own food. That's against the law. They'd have to somehow manage to make it a housing development, which would require paved sidewalks and roads, etc, that they might not be able to afford.
My beef isn't with people moving out here, it's with HOAs, and with the land being forced into lawns. We need places for people to grow food, especially as our population continues to grow. HOAs don't often allow that, and they love to cut down all the native veg and destroy the topsoil, which people who are just one house usually don't do.
In addition, these Rural Cluster Developments are marketed as being less destructive to the environment because they cluster the houses together and use less roads and driveways than if people built their homes seperately...but, if they really want to preserve the environment, they need to not be chopping down all these trees and destroying all the topsoil, just to put in giant, level lawns.
Someone has to give permission for the folks who buy those houses and to the builder to use the private road.
Who pays for the maintenance of your private road?
I would also call your County Commissioner to get more information on the status of the road.
Tyler Ludens wrote:IANAL, but the county should have to obtain an easement to turn a private road into a public one. There may already be an easement to the county on the road - this information should be at your county clerk's office. If not, you and your neighbors on the road might want to lawyer up, because it is likely the county is planning to steal land from you all.
Our land extends to the middle of our county road, and there is an easement granted by previous owners, which conveys with the land.
Here in Maine it is completely legal depending on certain factors. For instance, I have a right of way that extends to my land that comes to a point about a half mile back in off the main road. Just beyond that point I have a neighbor that has 6 acres of land, and while my Grandfather built the road over the Right of Way, by law we cannot deny access to the person living behind me who is "landlocked." If I did, it would make his land absolutely worthless. Even though that land has no legal Right of Way, by me having one, they are entitled to use mine by default.
It sounds like this might be the case with Nicole, but I am not sure. If the land behind her home was public land, then the road leading to it was legally a public road. I am not sure that is exactly the case, but Land Laws get really strange at times. My deeds are teeming with the strangest things!!
As for Conservation Easements, I do not like them because as with many things, while they are well meaning, there are many things they do not tell you. For instance here we have some, but they are not worth the paper they are printed on even though they are registered in the record of deeds. It is a lengthy explanation, but a person has to think of the legal rights of a landowner as a bundle of asparagus bunched together with a rubber band. Those rights include mineral rights, gas and oil rights, air rights, timber rights, farming rights, and the rights to build buildings, etc. There mare many, many rights, and a person can sell off, or give away any one of those rights. For instance, when fracking was full throttle, Grandparents who had sold oil and gas rights decades ago, suddenly had the oil companies knocking on the Grandchildren's door with signed agreements from decades before in their hand. Their Grandparents had sold out, and it was all legal.
The Conservation Groups WANT people to think that by giving up aspects of their conservation rights the farm will never become developed, but that is just NOT the case. Here in Maine, there is fine print that says they can sell off select house lots. On one occasion a school was going to expand and had a choice. On the left side was an undeveloped subdivision, and on the right side was a farm who was in conservation easement. the State would have to pay dearly for the subdivided land because it was in 2 acre lots, so they simply took the farm land under eminent domain making everyone here quickly realize those conservation papers were meaningless. But it gets worse...
A person who does Conservation easements must PAY THEM TO TAKE AWAY YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS. I would be darned at doing that, as the rate my rights as a property owner are being stripped away from me now is incredibly ridiculous, to even think that I am going to PAY someone to take even more away is insane!! But it gets worse than worse. You have to pay an ANNUAL FEE to have YOUR RIGHTS REMOVED!! What the fanny pack? Yes you have to pay them every year just to be fleeced. Like that is EVER going to happen to me!! No thanks, since all they are doing is limiting how I can farm, hiding in the fine print that after my demise can sell house lots off, and charge me every year for the "pleasure" of all that, I will just stay FAR, FAR away from that nonsense!!
A non-exclusive easement for ingress and egress as delineated on the said survey.
Subject To: This conveyance is subject to covenants, conditions, restrictions and easments, if any, affecting title, which may appear in the public record, including those shown on any recorded plat or survey.
There is no one mandated to maintain the road in our easement. We have 2-3 different neighbors who put down gravel when potholes, and I pay them $20-40 when they do. The other neighbors should also--out of neighborly kindness--be doing the same, but they don't.
We have wells, but there's public water that was brought into the street a few years back, and the new development is hooking up to that.
In other news, I found the HOA covenants of other housing developments made by the same people. On these one-acre plots, the owners:
I think I'd go crazy!
I looked up another one of their developments. It's a spiffy one on a lake, that they tout as all ecologically-friendly. They show on their webpage all the houses being tucked into the wood:
But, in reality they cleared out the trees from 2/3rds of each property. At least it's not 100%. It gives me hope that they won't clear out all of the trees in the development.
Kids are clammering for dinner. Got to go!
And then the houses they build aren't green, with composition roof and cement fiberboard siding (https://www.redfin.com/WA/Snohomish/18608-55th-St-SE-98290/unit-03/home/145511631), and they cut down 2/3rds of the trees on the lots.
And, if they go and try to green wash the development on my street, I really gotta wonder about these extreeeeeeeemly large water retention ponds. The totally terraformed the second one, which was previously a wetland.