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Watch your commission

May 5, 2012
The Inter-Mountain


The Randolph County Floodplain Ordinance (RCFO) sounds like it would only apply to the floodplain. But that is not the case as it applies to the entire landmass of Randolph County.

Passed by the Randolph County Commission in August of 2010, the RCFO "now" requires everyone who builds something in Randolph County to fill out an application, pay a fee and obtain a permit. Then, if you are found to be in the floodplain, be prepared to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on additional fees, surveyors and engineers. At 35 pages in length, the RCFO is quite a read.

Like so many other laws and ordinances, the RCFO is only being partially enforced. At this time, only building and certain earthmoving activities are being enforced by the RCFO. What can be enforced by the RCFO is scary. On page 4 of the RCFO, "Development" is defined as "Any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations or storage of equipment or materials." I wonder what would not be covered in that definition?

On page 1 under the applicability section of the ordinance, appears this statement, "It shall be unlawful for any contractor, person, partnership, business, or corporation to undertake or cause to be undertaken, any development, new construction, substantial improvement, repair of substantial damage, or the placement or relocation of any structure (including manufactured homes) within Randolph County unless a floodplain determination has been obtained from the County." "Floodplain Determination" means filling out a lengthy application, paying a fee and obtaining a permit.

By these definitions and statements, a person in Randolph County would have to pay for and obtain a permit to plow a garden, pull a ditch, grade a road or even mow the grass. Why was the RCFO written this way? I know these activities are not being enforced at this time, but how many times have you heard these statements from your officials: "These laws have been on the books for years, but they were not enforced. Now we are going to start enforcing them."

The RCFO has a "Penalties Section" on pages 33 and 34 that starts out with this statement: "Any person(s) who fails to comply with any or all of the requirements or provisions of this ordinance or direction of the Floodplain Manager, or any other authorized employee of the community, shall be unlawful and shall be referred to the Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney who shall expeditiously prosecute all such violators."

Watch your county commission because what is left of your freedoms is at stake.

Mark Bonner




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