Occupancy Permits Coming to a Home Near You
St. Louis County has instituted the second part of the legislation passed back in 2005 that requires occupancy permits in unincorporated areas of the county. This may come as a surprise to our regular readers, but I am not opposed to occupancy permits. I think their practical benefits outweigh the theoretical issues I may have with them. I don’t think they are particularly burdensome, considering the amount of work that always goes into buying or selling a home. I also like that, in a very small way, they make it easier for homeowners to sell their own homes instead of having to hire real estate agents.
Occupancy permits have worked very well in University City, where I live, and other cities that have instituted them in order to protect neighborhoods’ housing stock. University City may have been one of the first cities in the nation to institute the occupancy permit requirement but I could be wrong about that.
I think this program will be good for Saint Louis County’s unincorporated areas, which there should be more of. Why do I say there should be more unincorporated areas? Because thousands of county residents live in tiny municipalities that contract with Saint Louis County to perform almost all of their cities’ services. If the residents just disincorporated their cities, they would get those exact same services from the county, provided without the middleman in this case being the municipalities that they pay taxes to, which use the very same tax money to contract with Saint Louis County.
Everyone pays the same property taxes to Saint Louis County whether they live in a municipality or not 56 cents per hundred dollars of assessed valuation. (Other issues also effect the comparison, such as fire districts, but you get the point.) Some people get enough benefits from municipal services to justify the additional taxes of living in a city, others do not. That is up to them, not me, but I really believe more people need to seriously consider disincorporating as a real option. It worked for Peerless Park.