Landlord stalled by new county regulations

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A county resident who wants to deed five structures on his property located off County Road 475 is still in a holding pattern.

Albert Morgan came before the planning commission in September and October, and the group is still delaying a decision on if he can gift his children property and what to do with 18 other rental units he owns in the area.

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New county regulations that went into effect earlier this year state that three or more rental units make an area rental complex or commercial development, which would require Morgan to go through subdivision regulations for both his gift and the 18 homes.

Morgan said he wants to deed newer units — two cabins and three mobile homes — to his three children and has no plans to develop the property for commercial use.

Morgan said the units do not have electricity and have been on the property for several years. The commission did not take action in September and advised that county engineer Larry Britt and Joel Hollowell take a look at the units and become fully informed before making a decision on whether or not  Morgan is trying to create a commercial development.

Hollowell informed the board using a map that indicated where the five units are placed, as well as 18 more units that are also on the property.

“We’ve been made aware Mr. Morgan owns quite a few other properties down a private road,” Hollowell said. “I believe that road was created back in 2006.”

Commission chairman T.J. Ray asked how many properties are there.

“We have 18 properties, including the five new ones that he has built but does not have electricity to,” Hollowell said.

“Now on the five new ones, I’m getting them surveyed and giving them to my kids,” Morgan said. “I didn’t know it would create such a ruckus to deed them all to my children.”

Ray said there are “a couple of problems” with several other units needing to be brought into compliance with county regulations. A portion of that regulation is a requirement for a hard surface roadway where Morgan currently has gravel.

“As far as the five new ones are concerned, since they are new, they are clearly under today’s regulations, they have to meet all the regs,” Ray said. “What that’s going to present immediately some minor or major problems for you in meeting those regulations unless you put a street down through there. You don’t have an awful lot of room there to put in a standard paved street.”

Ray suggested Morgan get together with Hollowell and Britt and go over what needs to be done for Morgan to meet the regulations in regard to the five new units on his property, mainly putting in a hard-surface road and getting the health department involved in approving the water and sewer.

County attorney David O’Donnell said the exception to the rule that applies to subdivision regulations would allow Morgan to “convey to the family members, provided the residences are calling it their homestead properties, not just deeding it to them.”

“So if I give this to my children and they can homestead it, each one of them, why do I have to put a black top road if it’s their own property,” asked Morgan.

“That’s the exception to this regulation, but there are also a lot of other units in this development that will have to be in compliance,” O’Donnell said. “Even though you have a 911 connection, that does not answer the question about the development. This is a successful development of a rental complex. I don’t think anyone of these units we are seeing up on this board are owned by anyone other than you.”

Morgan said that is correct, but asked if the black top road would have to go beyond the five units in question “because these have been here for years.”

O’Donnell said that’s a question for the board of supervisors to answer.