PROSSER — New private roads in Benton County could serve no more than four parcels under an ordinance change to be considered by county commissioners today.
A public hearing is scheduled for 9:05 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room in the courthouse in Prosser.
The new rules are recommended by county planning staff to deal with what planning director Michael Shuttleworth said is excessive short-platting.
"It's unregulated now," said Shuttleworth in describing how the county's long-standing short-plat policy works with regard to private roads.
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Short-platting allows a property owner to split a parcel into four separate lots and have them served by a private road easement.
With no restrictions on the number of short-plats, however, it doesn't take long for a private easement road to be the only access for a dozen or more rural properties, Shuttleworth said.
The proposal sounds good to Sue Finch who lives on Yakitat Road, a private road west of Benton City that she said has too much traffic.
"My irritation is the current rules say you can't have more than 50 lots on a private road without a second access point, and we have about 60 lots now," Finch said.
"It's a matter of safety," said Finch, who said she'd attend Monday's hearing if she didn't have to work.
She said the county has allowed too many subdivisions with private road access.
Shuttleworth said the proposed changes would not affect a special rule that allows short-platting with a minimum of 20-acre lot sizes.
If approved, the ordinance would end what Shuttleworth called continuous short-plats without building a private road.
The new rules would require that a new road be constructed to county standards, or that a second access be created, he said.
Ryan Liddicoat of Worley Surveying, however, said the changes would make it more difficult for property owners to short-plat their properties for retirement income and would create a hardship on some landowners.