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Old 02-10-2008, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Cambridge, Nebraska
137 posts, read 552,239 times
Reputation: 192

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There was recently a story in the McCook Gazette about someone that was trying to get a zoning change to accomodate his dog kennel business. It seems that the guy jumped in both feet before he found out that he was in violation of the law, and even though he lived outside the city limit, he lived within a town administered area. Someone summed up their feelings about the guy commenting that he should have researched the laws before he started his business, and I agree.



Trying to learn about all the laws that effect us here on the farm is beginning to seem like Mission Impossible. For example, I just read about a law that restricts the trapping of animals along the county road right of way, and that made me wonder what other laws are on the books that could get us in trouble...ignorance of the law is no excuse I know, but trapping along the road would never have crossed my mind as a newcomer to the area if I did want to trap something.


The problem for us is where do we look up the laws that effect us. State, county, and even town laws may control some of our activities. I want to be a law abiding citizen so we'll do everything we can to make sure we keep it legal whatever we do. Part of the problem is that even the people we need to rely on for information don't always have it right. The other day we wanted information on getting an open burn permit. We first called the county that referred us to the city that referred us back to the county.

Do I need a permit to remove a building? How about putting up a building such as a pole barn, garage, or shed? Can I add a water bib someplace near where we want a garden, or do I need a permit for that? Can I add an electrical outlet in the house without a permit, and for that matter, who issues the permit if needed...town or county? OH MY!

So for the time being, our search for the rules and regulations to keep us out of trouble will continue. I hope I don't need to put a lawyer on retainer for advice every time I want to modify or do something around the place. Heck, I just learned on TV the other night that one town outlawed the Bunny Hop. I'd sure hate to end up in trouble for doing the wrong ***.
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Old 02-10-2008, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,179 posts, read 9,375,050 times
Reputation: 9546
OK, here is how it is supposed to work.
Towns and cities are sovereign inside their limits. They can make any rules or laws within their limits.
Anything outside of the town or city limits is governed by the county. SOME Counties let towns and cities govern areas just outside their towns in a radius (usually 5 miles outside of town limits) but most do not. Most town and city ordinances are stricter than county ordinances.

Both should have an MZDO - a compilation of zoning regulations. These should have your hunting and trapping regulations in them too; they dictate what is allowed where (in what zoning delineation).

Both should have building codes and ordinances, these are sometimes referred to in the MZDO but are explained more thoroughly in the Building codes. Sometimes they simply adopt the yearly International Building Codes, but most entities add extra stuff to them.

First, get your plat delineation from the County Records Office. This should show you if any of your property is in a town or city and thereby under its jurisdiction. (You might think you know what you know, but the maps are supposed to be correct - the city told me I was not in City limits, but my county map showed that I was!)

Once you figure out if you are solely in the county - or if you have any property under city jurisdiction - then you can get the appropriate Building Codes and MZDO. Pick up a copy of any other ordinances that they have as well.

The Department of Natural Resources has ordinances that they enforce too, but normally these are more lax than city regs.

A LOT of times the people answering the phones honestly do NOT know if they have jurisdiction. I know 911 operators who simply have no idea where anything is or whose jurisdiction it is in, and hazard a guess - until they send the wrong law enforcement or fire department. Sometimes you have to literally be very patient with them and tell them (over and over) that you are in the town or county when asking for a burn permit! Not everyone knows what jurisdiction they are in - and not everyone who is supposedly in charge knows either.
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Old 02-10-2008, 05:05 PM
 
Location: Papillion
2,585 posts, read 9,519,514 times
Reputation: 890
Quote:
Originally Posted by SCGranny View Post
OK, here is how it is supposed to work.
Towns and cities are sovereign inside their limits. They can make any rules or laws within their limits.
Anything outside of the town or city limits is governed by the county. SOME Counties let towns and cities govern areas just outside their towns in a radius (usually 5 miles outside of town limits) but most do not. Most town and city ordinances are stricter than county ordinances.
In Nebraska, how far outside the city/town that the city/town can control is dicated by the state not the county. A town with a "first class" designation (I think that's 10,000 population and above) controls 2 miles beyond their corporate limits. A town with a "village" designation controls 1 mile. This area is called the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ).

In the ETJ the town controls the subdivision and zoning but all other ordinances and law enforcement go to the county.

Start with your City clerk if you are close to town (1-2 miles), then the County clerk.
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:17 PM
 
5 posts, read 10,555 times
Reputation: 10
Be aware that communities,municipalities in Nebraska have changed rules,laws retroactively, although I was of the impression that previously granted permits would be grandfathered in.
Several years ago I submitted paperwork to expand and improve an existing home located in Stratton, which did not have permit regulstions in place, and then was told that I could not proceed because they had established a complex permit process. Although I then had a new foundation in the ground, I stopped the proposed addition, which was obviously detrimental to the community.
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Old 06-07-2009, 04:43 PM
 
370 posts, read 1,157,252 times
Reputation: 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by SCGranny View Post
I know 911 operators who simply have no idea where anything is or whose jurisdiction it is in, and hazard a guess - until they send the wrong law enforcement or fire department. Sometimes you have to literally be very patient with them and tell them (over and over) that you are in the town or county when asking for a burn permit! Not everyone knows what jurisdiction they are in - and not everyone who is supposedly in charge knows either.
I'm curious where you call 911 for a burn permit?

Also, FWIW, hunting and trapping laws are primarilly state laws (Chapter 37) and regulations (Title 163), set either by the Legislature and/or Game and Parks--not zoning. However, both are prohibited by municipal code in nearly all, if not every incorporated municipality in the state. The new roadside trapping law is very unique, in that it is the first law to give some local control on determining where trapping occurs outside of a municipality.
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Western AZ
209 posts, read 365,451 times
Reputation: 214
Hello Off Pavement: Well, you received four replies and after reading all of them I don't think anyone can answer your questions with confidence, probably even the so called governing agencies. I'm in the construction business and believe me, there are laws and ordinances that you don't even know of. Endangered species, clean air act, clean water act, noise polution, OSHA. Need I go on?
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