'Fairness' issue debated by city on ordinance

By Matt Ward —

After more than a year of discussion and revision, an updated subdivision ordinance for the city of Fredericksburg could be approved as early as March 3, following the first reading of the ordinance during the Fredericksburg City Council’s regular meeting Monday.

While the third draft of the 152-page ordinance prepared by city consultant Freese and Nichols, Inc. of Dallas was not discussed in its entirety, council members debated a recent addition to the ordinance which seeks to defer public improvements and obligations on gifted or inherited tracts of land.

No final decision on the ordinance was made at Monday’s meeting, although the council voted to hold a second reading of the proposal.

‘Issue of fairness’

During a public hearing on the ordinance, local realtor Jeff Williams argued that the special provision deferring subdivision obligations for those who inherit or are gifted land separates property owners unfairly.

“What this really comes down to for me is an issue of fairness. I’m of the opinion that everyone should be treated the same under the ordinance,” Williams said. “Creating exceptions for people who inherit or are gifted property will have a host of unintended consequences for the people who are supposedly going to benefit from this. Is it the business of the city council to facilitate people’s estate planning?”

Deferral of subdivision obligations was proposed as a way to help those without the means to pay for infrastructure receive their inheritance without being forced to immediately sell the land.

“I know of a lot of people who do not have money that have inherited land,” local realtor Vic Nixon said. “This is the only option they really have and most of the real estate community that I have talked to is 100 percent in favor of this.”

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