There is a vacant property near the home I am considering purchasing. What will be there?
The City of Woodbury is a dynamic community which is developing at pace with market demands. Most vacant land you see in the city is privately owned and may be privately developed. The city has limited authority, through its zoning ordinance, over what can be built on the property and at what pace. A zoning district can allow multiple types of development within it and, often times, property owners request changes to the zoning.
The city encourages you to call or visit the Planning Division at City Hall at (651) 714-3533 to ask about the zoning of adjacent property, e.g., residential, commercial, industrial, and what types of development could occur.
How do I know which school my children will attend?
Three school districts serve Woodbury: District 833 (South Washington County); District 622 (North St. Paul/Maplewood/Oakdale); and District 834 (Stillwater). You should determine the school district in which your home is located, then contact the district office for information about which school(s) your children will attend.
The school your children attend is based on enrollment and other factors. It is possible that they will not attend a school in your neighborhood or in the City of Woodbury. In addition, each school district has attendance boundaries that are changed within the school district, from time to time, to meet enrollment needs.
For more information on schools, including private schools, visit the Woodbury Schools page.
There are private covenants within my development. What are these and who enforces them?
Private covenants are private rules covering all of the properties within a development. They can regulate things like the size and type of fences, the permitted colors of homes, or whether sheds or other accessory structures are allowed. They are not enforced by the city. Your developer/builder or home owners association can help you with specific questions regarding your development. Be sure to ask for a copy of the covenants and review them.
Will parks and trails be developed near the home I am considering purchasing?
The city has plans for how parks and trails will be developed. It should be noted that public facilities such as park buildings, monopoles, city well houses, and other buildings are often built within parks. Contact Parks and Recreation with specific questions at (651) 714-3583.
Does the city provide a warranty for work done by builders and developers?
No. A warranty is a seller's assurance to the buyer that the final product will be as represented. Warranties are private contracts between buyers and sellers. The city regulates the development process, but has no authority regarding private contracts or warranty work. Items such as drainage and workmanship are part of the contract between buyer and seller. The city's responsibility is to review plans and perform inspections to ensure compliance with city codes during the development and construction phase. Some builders offer a warranty program. You should ask your builder about his/hers.
Who owns easements and what purpose do they serve? Who can help me?
There are several types of easements, e.g., drainage, utility pipeline, scenic, wetland conservation, power line, etc. The easements on a typical city lot are for drainage and utilities. While the home owner owns the property, easements give certain public and private entities the right to enter the property and perform work. Wetland conservation easements are designed to ensure the area is left in an undisturbed and natural state.
All easements on your property should be shown on the lot survey or plat, or described within the title documents. It is recommended that you contact the city's Engineering Division at (651) 714-3593 to review the purpose and specifics of any easements on your property prior to placing objects including trees, fences, landscaping features, play structures, etc. in your yard. Any objects placed within an easement that impede the access or intended use of that easement may be removed in the future by the city at your expense.
Concerning property taxes, what will I be required to pay on my new home?
Property taxes are based upon the total value of the property, land and buildings, on Jan. 2 the year prior to the tax payable year. In other words, taxes payable in 2013 are based on the county-assessed value of the property on Jan. 2, 2012. If at that time, the property was a vacant lot, you pay taxes on only the vacant lot. If construction on the home began before Jan. 2, a county appraiser will estimate the value of what is completed on Jan. 2. If construction is not complete, the property taxes will be based on a partial value for one year.
If your new home in Woodbury will be your primary residence, apply for residential homestead status after closing on your property. Residential homestead is one of many state-legislated property tax classes. It may result in a reduced property tax bill for an owner-occupied property. You can apply for residential homestead status at the Washington County Service Center, 2150 Radio Drive.
For property-specific information, please visit the Washington County Property Information page.
How do I know if the streets are private and what does that mean to the home owner?
If the streets within a development are private the individuals within the development own the streets, usually as part of the home owners association. Home owners associations usually hire a private contractor to plow and maintain the streets. The city does not plow or maintain private streets. When private streets need to be maintained or replaced it is the responsibility of the home owners or the home owners association to do that. Ask your association how it will plan to pay for these future expenditures. For further information on private streets or streets in general, contact Engineering at 651-714-3593.
The lot I am looking at is adjacent to a pond. Will it remain that way?
During rainy periods, ponds may be higher. During dry periods ponds may be lower. In addition, some ponds are designed to be primarily dry year round. Pond vegetation and appearance will change naturally from year to year and cannot be altered by home owners. For further information, contact Environmental Division at 651-714-3533.
Once my home is built, is it safe to assume that the way the area looks today will remain that way?
No. Woodbury is a growing community with changing needs. Road widening may occur to improve traffic flow. Traffic signs, stop signs and other improvements may be added. More homes and commercial buildings will be developed to meet market demands, and additional public facilities will be built to serve the public's needs. Land uses and zoning of properties within the area may change. The important thing for home buyers to consider is where the development and upgrades will occur and whether they consider them to be positive or negative. This will give home buyers the knowledge to purchase a home consistent with their needs and desires.