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County updates subdivision regulations

When it became difficult to deal with Chilton County subdivision regulations that had not been updated in 19 years, the county decided to adopt a new set of regulations.

“Basically what you had was a set of regulations that were extremely outdated,” county engineer Tony Wearren said. “The last set of regulations for the county were adopted in 1996 so you had a lot of areas where they just needed to be updated. We wanted to adopt a new set of regulations that would protect the people who buy or move into this county.”

Wearren, Commission Chairman Allen Caton, commissioners Bobby Agee and Shannon Welch and county attorney John Hollis Jackson worked to compile a new set of regulations, which was formally adopted by the Chilton County Commission in September.

Some of the new regulations include:

•A new set of established fees to cover the costs associated with the inspection and review of subdivision developments. The total fee is dependent on the type of subdivision and is a guide to the charges that will be incurred by the developer. The developer is responsible for all charges, including inspection and testing, incurred by the county during the subdivision approval process. The fee schedule includes a $25 permit to develop fee, a subdivision with one to five lots is $500, six to 10 lots is $100 per lot, from 11 to 20 lots $1,000 plus $25 per lot starting at lot number 11 and from 21 lots or more, $1,250 plus $25 per lot starting at lot number 21.

•There is now a fine for noncompliance of any provisions of the regulations of $1,000 per lot that has been sold, offered for sale, transferred, or leased. A separate citation will be issued for each violation. All fines will have to be paid to the office of the Probate Judge within 30 days of the issuance of a citation by the county license inspector, and all fines will be doubled upon the failure to remit the fine within 30 days of the issuance of the citation.

•A pre-sale agreement between a developer and a prospective purchaser evidencing interest in purchasing a lot within a subdivision development in the event the proposed subdivision plan is approved by the county. A pre-sale agreement is not a contract to purchase and shall clearly state that no final sale of the property shall take place until and unless the developer fulfills the requirements set out in Code of Alabama 1975.

•A definition of the word “subdivision” to include “the development and division of a lot, tract, or parcel of land into two or more lots, plats, sites or otherwise for the purpose of establishing or creating a subdivision through the sale, lease, or building development of the lot or lots.”

•A subdivision will not include the division of land into parcels greater than 10 acres wherein all of the following criteria are met and shown on a plat to be filed with the Probate Judge with a certificate on the plat stating that all criteria are met. Wearren said the county decided to change the number to be more than 10 acres as opposed to five acres.

•A section about storm shelters to include all manufactured home subdivisions/parks shall have a storm shelter constructed and/or installed on the grounds and it shall be of such size to accommodate all residents of the subdivision. The storm shelter should be constructed or installed in accordance with FEMA 361/1CC500.

•A section regarding roadway pavement to include all roads and/or streets that should be paved and comply with the minimum pavement width which should not be less than 20 feet on standard sections and 22 feet for curb sections. All roads in the subdivisions will also be required to be paved with hot mix asphalt.

Currently, Wearren said there are roughly 70 subdivisions the county has record of, and hopes the new subdividsion regulations will provide an easier process for those looking to develop in Chilton County.

“We are hoping that these new regulations answer a lot of the questions we have had raised before,” Wearren said. “The problem we were running into was not having any oversight on developers who wanted to develop a subdivision. With these new regulations we will be able to have oversight of what is going on. Basically, people can’t just do whatever they want with subdivisions. There are rules now.”

Wearren said it was also important to develop a more detailed set of regulations as Chilton County continues to grow and move forward in terms of industrial development.

“The county is growing and will continue to grow,” Wearren said. “We want to be ahead of the curb. This was an attempt to get ahead and prepare ourselves for growth.”

Anyone looking to develop or divide a parcel of land in the county is now asked to contact Wearren to make sure the plans are in compliance with the new set of regulations.

A copy of the regulations is also available to view at the Chilton County Commission office located at the Chilton County Courthouse.