With Californians buying 10 lots at a time, greater vigilance needed, resident says
FOUNTAIN GREEN—With the growth coming into Sanpete County, every resident needs to be aware of development requirements so they can inform their local government when the requirements are not being followed, a resident told the Fountain Green City Council at its last meeting.
Brad Hancock also raised the issue, which has come up repeatedly throughout the county, of fence lines and other apparent property boundaries not matching legal descriptions and surveys.
Hancock said property is sometimes being sold without being surveyed first. It’s been taking place with new building lots. Sometimes even old ones weren’t surveyed at time of sale, he said.
“It is standard in new contracts that they be surveyed,” he said. “It should not happen after the fact.”
He said he had already spoken with Mayor Mark Coombs and asked if the fence lines are what the city calls property lines. The mayor told him any such assumption was “old wise man’s tale.”
With the growth happening in counties and towns around Fountain Green, Hancock said, Fountain Green, too, is going to be affected. He suggested that there needs to be an enforcer to make sure ordinances are followed, and, specifically, that property is surveyed before being developed.
“There is going to be a lot of impact, and it’s time the city starts planning and charging for that.”
Hancock said people from California buying up lots and homes, and they don’t just buy one house—they buy 10 at a time and then turn around and sell them for hundreds of thousands more than the original purchase prices. The buyers assume everything has been done correctly.
The trigger for Hancock’s appearance was someone purchasing the property next to his. The lot had an old barn on it that the purchasers wanted to clear in order to build a new home. So the purchasers offered to let the fire department burn it down as a firefighting exercise.
Hancock contended the barn was actually sitting on the property line. He said part of it was on his property and part on the property that had been sold recently. Yet, he said, he was never notified about the firefighting exercise.
Hancock asked the fire chief, who was at the meeting, “Did you come check my home for smoke, or on my wife?” asked Hancock.
Hancock said his grandson, who lives with him and his wife, has asthma, and he and his wife wished they had known about the firefighting exercise. He added that the fire smoldered for two weeks.
Mayor Mark Coombs asked Bryan Allred, a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission if there was an ordinance on how long something can burn.
“There is not,” said Allred. “But we need to not forget common sense either.”
Allred said that a barn could take a long time to burn, depending on what’s inside it.
Councilman Rod Hansen said it is time to look into hiring an enforcement officer and charging an impact fee to pay the salary. Hansen said that enforcement is something the city has been struggling with for a while.
Councilwoman Shelith Jacobson said that there will always be controversy regarding past and current surveys because they just don’t match up. The fence line that has been there for someone’s whole life, if surveyed now, needs to come in 3 feet. That happened to her, she said, and now her secondary water connection is on someone else’s property.
Coombs said that he has spoken with many surveyors. They all refuse to survey in Fountain Green because lines are not where they are supposed to be.
“We as a city need to start working together to solve this problem,” Hancock said.
The mayor said that he was thankful for the issues being brought to light and the comments made. He said that the council would start putting together a plan to try solve problems for everyone.