SERIOUS QUESTIONS FOR THE SERIOUS LAND BUYER
(A Public Service offered by Bill Vernon Development)
Welcome to Jackson County! We want you as
our neighbor but also want your experience in our community to be a pleasant
one with NO surprises. As you shop around for land you will find a wide
variety of options and prices. Close to town or further out, views or valleys,
good access, poor access, high end or low end etc. Drinking
Water, Roads and Septic Systems are absolutely the most important issues
you face. As always, you usually get what you pay for. Buying
land in these mountains is unlike buying land anywhere else. Whether you
purchase from us or another - you need to educate yourself before making
any decisions. As a public service we have comprised a list of serious issues
that can have a profound effect on your decisions and your wallet:
SEPTIC SYSTEMS & PERMITS - This issue goes hand and hand with the drinking water section discussed above and has great importance when it comes to smaller parcels. Did you know that if your neighbor was to install a septic system or drill a well lets say 15' from his adjoining property line with you, this can have a profound effect on what you can now do with your land? The Health Dept. will require that there be a 100' setback separating a septic system from a well. Do you know what happens if you draw a 100' circle around a well? You loose almost 1 acre of land that can not be used for a septic system. Clearly, both septic systems and drinking water MUST be addressed together if you intend to build on the land that you purchase. Your neighbor can definitely impact you and your options. It is important that you address upfront if and where will you be able to install a septic system and where will you get your drinking water. There are cases where people owning a small parcel can no longer get either on their land rendering it un-buildable.
ROADS: A poor road is an invitation to big trouble and reduced property values! Carefully consider:
- ROAD WIDTH: Many lesser traveled or private roads in
Jackson County are very narrow. Many were built before there were any
regulations for minimum road widths or emergency vehicle access. All
new roads, including those in Cherokee Forest, meet or exceed the county
& state standards.
- EMERGENCY VEHICLES: What about emergencies for fire or illness? If you can't easily pass another vehicle or there are problem spots - what about a fire truck or ambulance? Don't "scrimp" here as this is a very serious issue!!!
- ACCESSIBILITY - How will you access your land? Will you control the access or will it be shared with others? Is there an active, functioning and operational road association of all those using the road? Is the road currently being maintained?
- EASEMENTS: Always beware of a property whose access is via an easement through another persons land. Make sure that you have a deeded right-of-way that is plenty wide enough and offers you a good deal of control. Many mountain properties have compromised access and right-of-ways so be sure to have your attorney review all the access issues.
- GRADE & STEEPNESS: Watch for steep areas - especially those with gravel that appears continuously disturbed for long distances. Any steep grade where your tires spin easily probably needs to be paved or you'll end up with ongoing, costly maintenance expenses. Also is the road bumpy or rattling your kidneys as you drive on it? Has it been machine graded?
- GRAVEL: There is nothing wrong with a good, well built
and well maintained gravel road. However, gravel does require some yearly
maintenance. A well built gravel road will shed water quickly, and require
minimal maintenance. Watch out for gravel roads with dirt or clay showing
through. If you see dirt or clay showing through the gravel today, while
it is for sale, what will it look like a year from now after another
- DRAINAGE AND CULVERTS: The best protection for a road comes when you can shed the water off easily and quickly. Watch for "ruts" down the gravel or standing water that seem to remain problematic. A good road will have plenty of culverts.
- CURRENT CONDITIONS: There are areas where land is being sold on what is currently a single lane or lane-and-a-half, sometimes narrow gravel road. In some instances these can even be D.O.T. maintained roads. In many of these instances there is a promise to improve, widen and or pave. Most likely it will happen - the question then becomes ... when? Be sure to investigate the issues yourself. Although well- intentioned, the D.O.T. has approved many roads for widening and paving but funding and commencement never seems to become a reality.
- UNDER CONSTRUCTION / PRE COMPLETION: All of the road issues above are quite common while a project is under construction. Often, you can get your very best deals during these "pre-completion" times when the roads etc. are looking rough The key is be careful, be informed and investigate for yourself prior to purchase.