What does it mean to be Unincorporated?

Unincorporated towns are fully-fledged towns (or even small cities) that do not have their own local government and can even lack some or any infrastructure depending on the population. They tend to answer to the county, even though they do not have their own elected officials. As a result, they’re only bound by their county’s laws. 

Th County of Madera has a total of 5 District Supervisors that are known as the Board of Supervisors. Each district represents a section of the county.

In our case, we are District 5 and have 1 District Supervisor who is responsible for advocating for us in county decisions. 

District 5 Includes:

Oakhurst, Tesoro Viejo, O'Neals, Raymond, Ahwahnee, Bass Lake, North Fork, and Coarsegold (which includes Yosemite Lakes Park and Indian Lakes Estates)

Food for Thought.

More Freedom

The biggest perk of living in an unincorporated community is that you tend to gain more freedom. Many unincorporated places balk at the idea of incorporating out of fear of losing their lifestyles. After all, city limits and laws can make it hard to throw host events, make changes and other things. With that said, you still have to pay attention to local zoning laws to ensure you’re not using your land for the wrong purposes.

Lower Taxes

Unincorporated communities often have much lower property taxes than small towns/city's, which often charge high taxes and fees for city management purposes and wide range of available services and amenities. 

Less Red Tape

Living in unincorporated areas means there might be less legal red tape. We’ve all heard of towns that had absurd levels of paperwork for almost any home project. Unincorporated communities often don’t have that on a local level because there’s no local government. However, they do still have to answer to the county and state regulations and paperwork. 

No Local Government Help

A major pitfall of unincorporated communities is that you won’t have any local government to help you out. If you want to have a local government issue a marriage license or if you feel like something could be better run, you’re out of luck in an unincorporated community. You will need to reach out to your District Supervisor to advocate for you at the county level.

Lack of Infrastructure

Unincorporated communities often lack infrastructure, or a formal government funded and backed infrastructure. While this is not always true, you might find that an unincorporated community (or area) won’t have the same infrastructure level that a typical town or city may have. This is particularly common in rural areas. 

Less Say Over Local Laws

In an unincorporated community you will have less say over the laws being enacted in your area. Everyone in an unincorporated community will still need to answer to county and state rules. If you were hoping to have more of a say regarding the laws in your neighborhood, your vote would count against people from other towns—many of which might not have the same needs as yours. It’s food for thought.