Family Subdivision Exception Granted

Remember the Board of Supervisor’s denial of a family’s request to subdivide their land more times than the law allows? They’ve reversed themselves, Brandon Shulleeta writes in today’s Progress. Or, rather, the new, more conservative makeup of the board has reversed the prior board. The Matheny family has seventeen acres carved up as a family subdivision, and they used up all of their division rights. But they wanted to divide it one more time. They asked the BoS for permission, and the board said no, that rules is rules. Well, apparently rules isn’t rules. An exception was carved out here, not because of anything in particular about the family or the land in question, but just because the majority on the board board believes that the limit should be ignored.

Disclosure: I paid the Mathenys to drill a well for me last fall. In fact, they did great work, and I recommend ’em.

7 Responses to “Family Subdivision Exception Granted”

  • Couldn’t they have just put up the building without subdividing and then put the un-subdivided property into a trust with some sort of right of survivorship?

    Last man standing gets the real estate. I mean it “is” supposed to be a “family” subdivision- why does the “family” need to get all legal and technical about everything. ;)

  • I wouldn’t be surprised if banks and financing had something to do with that Bob.

  • Also, I would hope/think the division rights limit is there to protect adjacent property owners. If someone can sub-divide and build houses for family members at will, then a neighbor could end up having a plot of 5 acres in the county packed with houses next door to them.
    If *everyone* was reasonable and *everyone* took the approach of doing what was best for all, not just themselves, we wouldn’t need all these regulations, zoning, restrictions, etc. Unfortunately, we haven’t gotten to this sense of community yet.

    The mythology of the American Indian provides an example of believing the land and what it provides as being for the good of all and not available to the enhancement and ownership of one.

    I agree the BOS has opened up the door for an interpretation that a rule isn’t a rule if “common sense” suggests otherwise.
    One person’s common sense is someone else’s ludicrous idea.
    Since he’s appearing in C’ville tomorrow,
    I’ll quote a John Prine lyric:
    “It don’t make much sense
    That common sense
    Don’t make no sense
    No more.”

  • Also, I would hope/think the division rights limit is there to protect adjacent property owners. If someone can sub-divide and build houses for family members at will, then a neighbor could end up having a plot of 5 acres in the county packed with houses next door to them.

    I fully agree with you.

    Want to see rural area development/sub-division a little out of whack- take a drive down Harris Creek Road (it’s on the way to First Colony Winery and Va Wineworks) or if you’re daring and have a 4 wheel drive (manditory for this road) down Daniel Morris Lane.

    I imagine places like that are the reason for the County’s Zoning regulations.

    @”your real name”- fair point, especially in this economic climate. I was just trying to think “outside of the box.”

  • The two requests for an additional family subdivision right had several things in common. First, while all of the division rights originally granted had already been used there were individual parcels (already in use) that were large enough to carve off the 2 acres required for rural development. Additionally, both families agreed to extend the period of time which the land would be required to be held by the family owner for a period of 15 years, which is the max allowed by the state. (note: the current county requirement is 4 years). The supervisors who voted for the proposal felt the 15 years was enough to insure the land would not be subdivided for a quick sale 4 years down the line.
    On the other side, it was argued that changing the reluctance to allow these additional parcels to carved out when all the division rights were already used, could in effect add a significant number of 2 acre lots available for development in the rural area.

  • This isn’t the half of it… Apparently there is also a vast loophole exploited by developers in the rural area that allows them to dodge environmental regulations.

    It works like this… a property owner wants to subdivide their property but is denied due to critical slope and stream buffers. Owner then decides instead to use the agricultural exemption to allow them to build “farm roads” and “farm ponds” disturbing stream buffers and critical slopes with wild abandon. They then wait a few years then reapply and then claim the roads and ponds as “pre-existing”.

    You can see an egregious example of this at the intersection of plank rd. and 250. Many developers follow the rules voluntarily; however, IMHO I really think people that intentionally dodge the rules using exveptions for farming should have all their roads viewed functionally as if they do not exist, and thus need to remove uncompliant roads, repair grading to the original topography, daylight any streams they buried, and replant/restore stream buffers for at least 100 feet on either side including around their “farm ponds”.

    As is, there is really almost nothing that stops the Mathenys or anyone else from turning the rural “family subdivision” into a real one given enough time thus gradually converting areas zoned rural into suburban areas, thus defeating the purpose of the zoning.

  • …and while people have claimed that family subdivisions are not abused, some Real Estate Agents encourage people to buy the properties and use family subdivision to get around the ordinances, like this one:


    Stunning views from many elevated homesites on this 58 acre parcel in NW Albemarle w/many faithful springs, a stream & deeded use of a private pond. Currently there are two small ranch style homes & a large mechanics garage/workshop already built thereby giving the new owner so many options. Property is perfect for a family division, possible recreational center or build your dream home & rent out the two houses for additional income or use them as guest quarters. 70% of land is open, 30% wooded
    Acreage: 58.62
    Albemarle County
    Subdivision: NONE
    Price: $650,000

    Furthermore, if you scan the rest of these listings you’ll see other properties listed ($1,000,000 ) with Land Use as listed as an amenity (With no suggestion at all that one might have to farm to get that tax break).

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