Land Survey Plat Update: How Did We Work with a Planning Department and 2 County Commissions?

| 2/12/2015 1:52:00 PM

Jennifer Snowshoeing On Land

The Small Home, Big Decisions series follows Jennifer and her husband, Tyler, as they build a self-reliant homestead on a piece of country property in northeastern Kansas. The series will delve into questions that arise during their building process and the decisions they make along the way. The posts are a work in progress, written as their home-building adventure unfolds.

The short answer to this week’s big question is persistence. After our property was classified as a subdivision and after the first meeting with the Leavenworth County Planning Commission, who did not approve our stormwater drainage report waiver, my inner lawyer burst out. (Well, after a brief period of woe-is-me self pity.) We read through several of the county’s legal documents. We read a lot of legal jargon. A lot.

Then, we called the county’s Planning and Zoning Department. We asked questions based on our reading, and asked for clarity on two main points: First, we feel confident that the plat survey we had already paid to have done should not have been our responsibility — it should have been handled in order for the previous owner to be able to sell the property in the first place. Second, we feel confident that we qualify to be an exception to the term “subdivision” by the county’s definitions in its Zoning and Subdivision Regulations. The staff at the planning department, to be fair, were likely not responsible for the previous errors. However, they were now our point of contact to fix the error. So, we pushed, we asked questions, we persisted.

I drove to the Leavenworth County courthouse (for our third appearance in the building) to present our final plat and waiver for approval to the Board of County Commissioners. The recommendations for approval, first by the Planning and Zoning Department that included the waiver and second by the County Planning Commission that did not approve the waiver, would be taken into consideration for a final decision on our plat’s approval by the Board. The staff of the planning department was present and they explained our situation and strongly recommended that our plat and waiver be approved. I had come prepared to make a strong argument on our behalf, and had even brought several of the county’s legal documents that we’d read and marked up with me to reference. Luckily, none of that was necessary, because the staff said it all.

When it was my turn to step up to the microphone, I gave my short-and-sweet appeal (starting with the required stating of my name and address for the official record):

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