The question of rural development

December 14, 2007 at 12:12 am 2 comments

Before the week completely gets away from me, I should mention Kevin Leininger’s column in Saturday’s News-Sentinel with the headline “A battle over property rights.”

Here’s the lead:

Drive down most any road in rural Allen County and you’ll see them in increasing numbers: new homes scattered among the barns, fields, fences and old farmhouses.

But the pastoral tranquility is deceiving. County planners and many developers see those homes as an impediment to sensible growth – while real-estate agents defend them as monuments to property rights.

The problem isn’t the parceling of the land. It’s the roads, the sewers, the water and the utilities. And I’m finding I’m not as libertarian on the issue as I once was.

I really couldn’t care less what color your house is, and whether or not you own a horse — if you can control the smell somewhat. But we property owners are all in this together when the discussion turns to roads and utilities. Some control seems necessary.

I’d love to hear Rachel‘s take on this — and anyone else who has a stake in the discussion.

Update: The county approved the land-sale rules (as Rachel points out in a comment below).

— Jon Swerens · Photo by Dean Terry on Flickr


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  • 1. Rachel  |  December 15, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    Jon and Scott,

    Thanks for asking my opinion. I’ll take you up on request, sort of. I don’t comment publicly on issues tied directly to my professional life. That’s why you rarely if ever see housing issues covered at BPOTS. My philosophy overall is we must not sacrifice the good of the community at-large for the benefit of few. It’s a constant balancing act between the needs of the individual against society as a whole.

    And the JG had a story about the commissioners’ decision in this morning’s paper.

  • 2. Eric White  |  December 18, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    Restricting the sale of land to one split, or “sell-off” per year does little to stop urban sprawl. But it does encourage property owners (who wish to sell property more quickly) to go through the minor platting process. This gives the county some control over development related issues, which they really didn’t have before.

    I do like the fact that these rules also require that newly created properties have a minimum road frontage. Previously, property owners could subdivide large tracts of land by creating “landlocked” parcels served by access easements. I have an aerial photo of this type of development at:


But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. Jeremiah 29:7

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