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Published January 07, 2013, 10:49 AM

No building permit fees for farmsteads in ND county

Encourages new generation of family farmers.

By: Betsy Simon, Forum News Service

Building permits are not required to construct homes on land in North Dakota’s Stark County that is classified as a farmstead, according to the county commission.

County Planner Steve Josephson says there have been questions about residences that are built on farmsteads — properties that are 40 acres or more where 51 percent or more of the annual income is from the farm.

He says permits were not required for those residences in the past and he asked the commission for clarification on the issue at a December meeting.

“Between whenever that was and now, I hear all kinds of things from people about whether or not building permits are allowed in the county period,” he says. “All I’m asking for is clarification and that the board take some kind of position up on the matter, understanding of course that people may not have to get a building permit in this case, but they still have to comply with the county’s adopted building code and any adopted codes of the county.”

Commissioner Russ Hoff says anyone who qualified as a farmer with 40 acres or more in the past was not required to get building permits for work on their property.

“To me, we do not want to inflict anymore fees than what we already do through taxes and such on someone who is a farmer or rancher out there,” he says. “And then, force the city to go out there and give them a $1,200 fee for an inspection when if the insurance agent and the banking establishments want it, they can ask for it.

“That’s fine if they ask for it themselves because then they can pick who they want as their inspector. Why do we want to force more fees down their throat when it’s possible they don’t have to have it?”

Commissioner Jay Elkin agrees.

“More importantly, we have young people that are, for the most part, building out there either on their folks’ property or a relative’s property,” he says. “For them, $1,200 or $1,400 is a lot of money, and we want to encourage people to take over the family farm.”

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