Hopkins County Commissioners Court grant subdivision variances for two properties as well as a request to close a portion of County Road 3507, during their most recent regular court session.
County Road 4743 Variance
Larry Kerns asked the court to consider approving a variance which would allow a County Road 4743 property owner a 20-inch variance from the subdivision rules. The property is 20-inches short of meeting the subdivision requirement. Larry Kerns explained that in previous years when a pastor retired, he was going to have to sell his house and wasn’t sure where he’d go. Kerns suggested carving out about an acre of his property for the retired pastor and his wife to reside on as long as they live.
Kerns, in the last few months, has decided to sell his 104-acres of land. He wants to give that land to the pastor and his wife so they won’t have to worry what will happen to them if someone else buys the Kerns property. When the property was carved out for the pastor, no surveyor was used, and it was discovered to be 20-inches shy of an acre. Allowing the variance would also allow Kerns to give the property to the pastor and his wife without having to pay an estimated $4,000 platting fee. Kerns said he does not plan to carve it out into a new subdivision, but does plan to sell it.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Price made the motion, which was seconded by Precinct 1 Commissioner Mickey Barker, to allow the variance. The Commissioners Court unanimously agreed to grant the 20-inch variance as requested for 605 County Road 4743.
County Road 3501 Variance
A variance was also requested for 346 County road 3501, to allow Kevin and Yazmin Weaver to put a tiny house on their property so they can care for the resident’s mother. Precinct 3 Commissioner Wade Bartley currently has no regulations for tiny houses. He proposed allowing the residents to put the tiny house on the same 6/10ths of an acre where there are residents, so they can care for the mother while she is living. However, the variance should stipulate that the tiny house is allowed only as long as the mother lives there. When the mother no longer lives there, the tiny house must be removed from the property, Bartley proposed.
“It does not continue to be a piece of that property. It’s just to allow them that convenience to take care of her mother while she’s here. So I move that the court accept that variance,” Bartley said. “I’m asking for the variance. It’s up to the court whether ya’ll grant it or not. We don’t really have any guidelines to go by with these tiny houses, and I don’t know if their existing septic system wouldn’t handle that tiny house.
The Precinct 3 Commissioner said he’d talked with the residents about their septic system. As he understands it, they plan to put the tiny house on a separate septic system from the one they currently use for their residence.
Hopkins County Fire Marshal Andy Endsley said to make sure it meets environmental requirements, the family might have to look at a multifamily septic system instead of one system for the tiny home.
“That’s somethings we’ve been talking in work sessions about, updating our rules and regulations for tiny houses. At the time, there isn’t any,” Endsley said.
“Each variance is an individual variance by itself and, Wade, if you think this piece of property will handle it, then I’m with you,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Greg Anglin said.
“I know it has a traditional septic system. I don’t know if that makes a difference or not. We hired someone who does the septic and he said the only way he would be able to put one is if I get a permit from you guys. So, that’s where we are,” Yazmin Weaver told the court.
Judge Robert Newsom asked if she would be working with county officials such as the fire marshal and fire department to see that all requirements are met.
Endsley noted Mrs. Weaver would need to get with Kristy Springfield, the county’s environmental officer who makes sure septic systems are adequate to meet the needs of those who use them and meet environmental standards. Springfield would work with whoever the Weavers hire to install the system, then check off the requirements when they are met, if the court were to approve the variance request with the contingency included as proposed.
Currently, the variance is case by case because there is no guidelines or regulations in place at the county level regarding tiny homes.
“She is trying to go through the proper channels to take care of this. I’d like to be able to help her take care of her mama. I would move that we would grant this variance, and they’ll work with Kristy Springfield, our environmental officer, to get that worked out,” Bartley said.
Anglin seconded the Bartley’s motion. The variance request receive unanimous approval of the court, with the contingency, provided all other requirements are worked out with the environmental department.
Partial Closure of County Road 3507
A request was made to close the last 500-plus feet of County Road 3507 at the south east end of of the dead end road. The same person owns the property on both sides of the road and are planning to build a house on their property. They’d like to have that portion closed. All of the proper documents have been filed and notices posted the proper amount of time with no objections, Bartley told the court when recommending that the request to close that portion of the county road be approved. Barker seconded the motion, which was then receive unanimous approval of the Commissioners Court during their Oct. 15, 2021, court session.