Rural Living

Living in Rural Douglas County - Protecting rural values through good design, resource conservation, and future planning.

Douglas County provides unique opportunities for residents to enjoy elements of a rural lifestyle while remaining in close proximity to jobs, shopping, and a variety of activities found in urban and suburban communities. There can be several challenges associated with the rural lifestyle.  The information provided below serves as a helpful resource for rural residents and those interested in moving to a rural community.

What is “Rural”?
Learn about the characteristics and values of the County’s rural communities and the Comprehensive Master Plan which contains the goals, policies, objectives, and maps of specific rural subareas.

What to Consider Before You Purchase or Build 
A brief overview for prospective rural property owners is provided, such as what to consider when purchasing a property and building a home in rural Douglas County. Topics include legal parcel status, adequate site access, private covenants and restrictions, water rights, allowable uses, and others.

Roads and Access
A summary of access considerations for rural property owners, including the need to ensure legal and physical access to a property, driveway permitting requirements through Douglas County, and possible limitations for emergency service vehicles and school buses, are provided.

Water, Sewer and Other Services in the Rural Areas 
Water is a high priority for all of Douglas County, but can be particularly critical for rural homes served by individual groundwater wells. Learn more about the various resources available to rural landowners regarding water, septic, sewer, and other utilities.

Living with Nature: Wildfire, Slopes and Soils, Flooding and Wildlife
Rural Douglas County provides a variety of natural settings that are highly valued by its residents and larger community. Living in forested areas and other environmental settings can pose challenges of which a rural homeowner should be aware. Living with Nature focuses on issues relative to wildfire and flooding hazards, living with wildlife, and weather considerations.

Land Management: Animals, Overgrazing, Manure, Weeds and Grading
Managing a rural property can be challenging for large and small-acreage owners alike.  Information in this section emphasizes the importance of managing rural property with livestock.  It also includes important information on regulations pertaining to the number and type of animals allowed, devegetation, weeds, agricultural tax status, and grading permits.

Rural Lifestyle Expectations and Land Use: Rights, Responsibilities, and Potential Conflicts
Rural areas are often valued for their peace and quiet, but many permitted uses and activities can result in noise and other impacts. Part of the rural lifestyle is enjoying a variety of recreational and agricultural opportunities afforded by zoning and larger parcel sizes. Understanding the planning and zoning context can be helpful in assessing possible land-use changes, as well as additional uses allowed in the different rural zone districts. Limits on motorsports vehicle use on private property are also discussed along with highlights of recent County regulation changes for accessory motorsports tracks.

Site Planning and Design
Homes and other improvements on rural land should be compatible with the rural context and natural environment. Consider the design when building a home and siting other improvements, including architecture, building placement, driveway location, the use of materials, colors, exterior lighting, landscaping, and fencing.

Rural Property Owners Checklist
This checklist provides a quick reminder for residents of rural Douglas County of important land use and property management items, as well as phone numbers of key regulatory and advisory agencies.