Thursday, July 10, 2008

The beautiful open field behind my house is going to be subdivided … what can I do?

It may be a bit late to do anything about the new development, but our concern is what you could have done when you bought your property. Most of the Valley’s developable land is a matter of public knowledge, or readily apparent for its potentiality by a bit of investigation. If an open field behind your property that served as an inducement for your purchase can be subdivided, your agent should have made you aware of that fact when you were buying.

The Carson Valley certainly has world class views and, contrary to conventional real estate theory, people often do buy for the view when they buy a home here. Some subdivisions have view protection restrictions in their C.C.&R.’s, but most don’t. In fact, many of the older homes were designed and aligned without consideration for the view – almost like it was taken for granted in those days. As the Valley population increases, and the resulting new homes are constructed, views are being compromised. You have the right to do as you please on your property as long as it complies with County Code and the C.C.&R’s. If you are building a new home the neighborly thing to do is to consider the view of your neighbor … if you can build accordingly. Sometimes an owner just can’t help building in a view corridor and it is within their private property rights to do so.

It isn’t always a new subdivision that interrupts a view. Your neighbor can plant a tree that will grow and wipe out a view. A shop building, or two story residence can be constructed in your view corridor. Some of the best protected view corridors are available by simply looking down the street – it won’t be built on so you have a view you can count on.

Even BLM land can change ownership status. If Federal land abuts a populated area, i.e.- your subdivision, it is possible that you can see a change from public to private ownership. Though it hasn’t happened in our area recently, it is possible – especially with sustained demand for developable property located out of the flood plane. If your agent says such public land will be open forever, remember, “forever” is a very long time. Things change – that is the only constant.

Our advice: When you are considering a purchase, evaluate the potential for a change in land use of the adjacent property and how it could affect you. We’ve seen several instances over the years where individuals thought the neighboring private property was BLM, public land, until it was developed. Whether those folks were improperly informed by their agent, or simply made a wrong assumption, one of the critical factors in their buying decision was clearly erroneous. Nothing is forever – if you are buying property next to vacant land explore the ownership, zoning, master plan, and flood plane status of the property to determine potential future use changes that could occur on that property.

Buying a view? Tranquility? Easy access to the public domain? Privacy? Investigate thoroughly since all is not always what it appears to be … or could change with time. Your seasoned agent can help you. Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-3704, , .

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