Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I Am Buying LAND, What Do I Need To Know About Zoning!

I can not cover every county so I have decided to pick one county to illustrate the nuances related to zoning issues. These can be very important if you are buying rural, undeveloped land. For instance, you might buy a tract of land for recreational purposes with the intent to subdivide the property later on. As an example, let’s look at Meriwether County, Georgia. Regulation and Ordinances are monitored and enforced through the department of Planning and Zoning. There are several zoning classifications in the county:

R-1 (Residential) – minimum of 1 acre, requires public water
RD (Residential) – minimum of 2 acres, must have 200 feet of frontage
LDR(Low Density Residential)- minimum of 5 acres, must have 200 feet of frontage
RR(Rural Residential)- minimum of 10 acres, must have 275 feet of frontage
A-1 (Agricultural)- minimum 25 acres, must have 350 feet of frontage

As you can see, there are requirements related to minimum tract size and amount of road frontage needed for each classification. If you bought 30 acres that was zoned ‘agriculture’ for the purpose of splitting into 2 tracts, you could run into zoning issues because there is a 25 acre minimum.  Most counties allow you apply for a zoning variance. These take time and can cost a few dollars.

If the county is very populated and has large cities, the zoning issues become a lot more cumbersome and restrictive. For instances, Troup County which contains Lagrange has more restrictions than Meriwether County. Troup County zoning regulations have 11 different  zoning classifications for residents. They even have requirements related to minimum square footage.

The take away point, go into the transaction with your eyes wide open and be sure and use a Realtor who is knowledgeable about land use issues and zoning!

For Information on Buying or Selling Land contact G. Kent Morris, ALC, RF at      (706) 457-0090

Saturday, February 1, 2014

What is GIS (Geographic Information System)?

A geographic information system is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographically referenced data. GIS systems are used by mining companies, timber companies, state and county officials, land use planners and the list goes on and on. The system has become a very integral part of study of geography and geography majors exit school with a detailed working knowledge of these systems.
   What are they used for?  In simplest terms it a data base containing information and data that is tied to a spatial dimension. For example, there might me a timber cruise associated with a specific stand of trees. Another example would be an estimate of the tons of coal related to a mineral ownership.

   How I use them?  I use MyTopo.com. I have the entire topographic layer for the state of Georgia and Alabama. I have a subscription to access aerial photography for these two states. If I draw a tract boundary in, when I toggle to another background layer, all my features are there. These features include waypoints, tracks, labels etc. I can use my Garmin GPS and walk around a stand of trees or a property boundary and import that GPS shapefile. As you can see there are many applications.
   A GIS system is made up of layers. The type and kind of layers depend on the end-user purpose. The type of layers I am most familiar with would be: streets, topographic maps, aerial photography, forest type maps etc. There are many systems out there, they range in price from free to thousands of dollars.
   Your Realtor should have access to these type tools. You might be evaluating a tract that has several different type of trees. It would be helpful if you knew how many acres in each stand. You might need to know the acres in a pecan orchard, row crops, size of a lake, size of the watershed. You can readily see there are many applications.

For Information on Buying or Selling Land contact G. Kent Morris, ALC, RF at      (706) 457-0090