Living In The Unicorporated Area Of Grayson County


Note: This page originally posted on Grayson County Planning Department Website & is no longer posted there. It is however a very good description of what rural living is like.  This is an archive copy – check with Grayson County Planning for any changes or corrections. 

There is no doubt about it. Country living is great! There are some  things you need to know, however, before you make the decision to build that  dream home in the unincorporated areas of Grayson. The unincorporated area of  the county is that area outside of any city or town. By electing to live there,  you have avoided many restrictions relating to your living conditions. You may  look forward to doing many things on your land because of your freedom to do so.  But you need to remember your neighbor has the same freedom and his taste for  country living maybe somewhat different than yours. Let’s take a look at some of  the differences between living in an unincorporated area and living in  town.

ANIMAL CONTROL– Grayson County’s  responsibility in animal control is primarily prevention of rabies. The County  has one animal control officer. The County has a law relative to dogs running at  large. Basically, it provides that dogs should be restrained or under the  control of a person. There is also a list of names of “wild animals” that a  person may not keep in the unincorporated area of the County.  Residents of the unincorporated area can  take abandoned animals or animals they simply do not want to the Sherman Animal  Care and Control Center at 1800 E. Ida Rd. (Fm 697). There is a charge for this  service. The Center should be contacted to determine what those charges  are.

CODE ENFORCEMENT– Code enforcement falls in to two  basic categories. One deals with building codes. The County does not enforce  building codes in the unincorporated area. The County regulates only on-site  sewage facilities and flood plain regulations. The County has enforcement  authority in code enforcement as it relates to health, safety and welfare of its  residents. There is only one officer in the County working in the area referred  to as code enforcement and his primary responsibility is illegal dumping of  trash and hazardous material spills. That leaves very little time for  enforcement in the law regulating the abatement of high weeds, rubbish, trash,  abandoned automobiles, etc.

EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES – Grayson County does not have its own emergency medical  services (EMS) more commonly known as an ambulance service. It contracts with  various emergency medical service providers throughout the county. The contracts  are usually done annually and are subject to approval of the Commissioners’  Court and the provider. The level of training of EMS personnel may vary from one  provider to the other. The county does not maintain EMS personnel  records.  You may call the E911  rural addressing and mapping coordinator to learn what areas the various EMS  providers cover. If you want to know the level and quality of training of each  EMS provider, you should call the agency directly to get that information. It is  important to remember Grayson County is not required to provide emergency  medical services to any unincorporated area. Those services are provided only  after a satisfactory agreement is negotiated between the provider and Grayson  County.

FIRE PROTECTION – Grayson County does not have a fire department. Fire protection is  provided to the unincorporated area of  the county by way of contracts with various fire departments throughout the  county. There are contracts with both paid and volunteer departments. The  contracts are usually done annually and are subject to approval of the  Commissioners’ Court and the entity providing the service. To learn what areas  the various fire departments cover, you may contact the E911 rural addressing  and mapping coordinator. If you wish to know more about their firefighting  capabilities, level of training, specific types of equipment they have, you may  contact the various departments directly. A person purchasing real estate  outside the cities should recognize most water lines outside the cities will  likely be smaller lines and lack fire hydrants. Most fire departments do not  have the tanker capacity to carry a significant amount of water to the scene of  a fire. Once the water in a tanker is expended, the fire unit must return to a  fire hydrant or another source of water to reload the tanker. It is important to  remember Grayson County is not required to provide fire protection to any  unincorporated area. Fire protection is provided only after a satisfactory  agreement is negotiated between the provider and Grayson County.

LAW ENFORCEMENT – The Grayson County Sheriff’s Office enforces the laws of  the State of  Texas throughout Grayson County. While  this area includes all cities as well as the unincorporated area, the Sheriff is  primarily the first responder in the unincorporated areas. In addition, the  Sheriff is also the first responder in the some of  the smaller cities. All E-911 calls from  the unincorporated areas and from cell phones are routed through the Sheriff’s  Office. Grayson County Deputy Sheriffs patrol the County on a regular basis.  Given the number of miles of county roads, it is not reasonable to think that a  Deputy Sheriff will be able to patrol the roads with the same frequency as a  police officer patrols city streets. If a call for service is made to the  Sheriff’s Office, the response time of a Deputy Sheriff will depend on the  officer’s proximity to the call when the call is received . The Sheriff’s Deputy  will certainly respond as quickly as possible. Response time is not always as  prompt as in the cities with police departments. A municipal police department  will traditionally have a much smaller area to patrol.

LIBRARY –  Grayson County does not operate a library system. Libraries are typically  operated by schools and cities. There are some cities in Grayson County  that have contractual relationships with  Grayson County. Other cities do not. Like EMS and fire contracts, they are  usually done on an annual basis with  both parties having to ratify the contract. Like protection and ambulance  service, Grayson County is not required to provide library service to those  people living in the unincorporated area. A person living in the unincorporated  area of the county should contact the library they would like to use to  determine any fees that non-city residents might have to pay.

PARKS AND RECREATION – The county owns and operates Loy Lake Park which is located on US Hwy  75 at Exit 67 north of Sherman and southwest of Denison. Grayson County does not  operate any regularly scheduled recreation program.

PLANNING AND ZONING – Planning activities in Grayson County are basically limited to  subdivision regulations, on site sewage facilities, emergency management and  flood plain regulations. There is a Land Use Ordinance for an area around  Lake Ray Roberts near Tioga. The ordinance is much the same as a zoning  ordinance you might see in a town or city. In addition to those activities, the  county does E911 addressing and emergency preparedness. Grayson County’s lack of  zoning is significant to people who own property in the county and wish to live  there. A lack of zoning means that a person can use their property as they  choose. The uses would only have to be legal activity and not have an adverse  effect on the health, safety and welfare of nearby property  owners.

SEWAGE COLLECTION AND TREATMENT – Practically all sewage collection and treatment in the  unincorporated area is done by on site sewage facilities. There may be some  public owned sewage collection and treatment systems outside the cities, but  they will be very limited. If you want to be on a publicly owned collection and  treatment system, you could contact the city nearest your building site to see  if they might serve the area.

SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL AND RECYCLING – Residents of the unincorporated area of the county are  required to have an authorized solid waste collection company pick up and  properly dispose of their solid waste. You cannot burn or bury garbage on your  land.  It is the responsibility of  each resident or business to select the company to collect the solid waste from  the residence or business. It is also the resident’s responsibility to pay the  collector directly. Grayson County does not have any role in settling disputes  between the customer and the solid waste hauler. Solid waste typically includes  household garbage, trash, and other petrusible materials. The Grayson County  Commissioners periodically conduct recycling and solid waste collection events.  You may contact your commissioner for the dates, locations of those activities  and the type of solid waste that will be accepted.

ROAD MAINTENANCE – Some rural roads in Grayson County pre-date the automobile. The roads were  typically used to move people and goods from a rural setting to an urban area.  The roads were built to disturb as little rural farmland as possible. That means  the roads generally split two pieces of property with each adjacent property  owner actually owning one-half of the road. As a result, county roads may have  many curves, be narrow and have no markings. Overall, that makes traveling a  county road not as convenient and more dangerous than traveling the typical city  street.

Typically, the ratio of street or road maintenance  employees to the number of miles of street or roads maintained will be much  higher in the cities than it is in the county. In Grayson County for example,  there is approximately 1 employee for every 22 miles of roadway to be  maintained. In addition to fewer employees, maintenance of county roads is more  labor intensive because of the types of roads and drainage structures in the  unincorporated area. If you purchase a house on an unpaved road, you should  assume the road will remain unpaved. While County Commissioners do pave roads as  time and money allow, their primary responsibility is maintaining the existing  roads.  

WATER UTILITIES – Grayson County does not own a water production, treatment or distribution  system. If water is purchased in the unincorporated area, it will likely be  purchased from one of the several rural water supply corporations or perhaps in  some instances from a city. The water distribution systems owned by rural water  supply corporations would usually have smaller lines than those systems owned by  the cities. (Information on how water utilities effects fire fighting, see  Fire Protection above.)

This information certainly  is not intended to be an all-inclusive list of issues you might consider before  buying real estate for investment or for your dream home. This list can,  however, start you on a process where you evaluate or compare the advantages of  one life style over the other.

Get Started Today ——– Call Keith Laursen 469.233.1234

Information provided as a public service – Viewer should independently verify accuracy of all information

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