Subdivision is the process of creating one or more new lots from an existing parcel. The term subdivision is most often associated with division of land for residential dwellings, including single family and townhouse developments. Subdivision is typically submitted through the Preliminary Plat or Final Plat process. Division of land for commercial, business, industrial, or office development for which a POD is required may be eligible for division through the Minor Subdivision process. Consolidation of or alteration to individual lots or parcels of land will also require Planning Department approval, typically under the Minor Subdivision process.
Subdivision of land must be reviewed by the Planning Department and a subdivision plat must be recorded whenever a parcel is divided, or for the creation or extension of a public road. This process includes a Preliminary Plat review and/or a Final Plat review. A Minor Subdivision must be reviewed and approved for the vacation, relocation, or other alteration of individual lots, and may be approved for a family subdivision or division of a lot or parcel subject to a POD or Site Plan, provided the minor subdivision does not include relocation, alteration, or extension of public streets, utilities, or other improvements. The Director of Planning approves all subdivision plats.
Where do I apply to subdivide my property?
What process is required to obtain subdivision approval?
There are 3 distinct subdivision approval processes, based upon the project parameters:
Preliminary Plat, Final Plat, and Minor Subdivision
Before formally submitting the necessary documents for subdivision approval, you should contact the Planning Department and review your proposal to determine the particular requirements for your project.
For detailed procedures of the Subdivision Review process (effective November 14, 2023 for all new plan applications).
For detailed procedures of the Subdivision Review process (Legacy process for all applications that had an original submission prior to November 14, 2023).
A Preliminary Plat approval is required prior to any subdivision of land into more than 50 lots. Approval of a preliminary plat may be requested, at the applicant’s option for any subdivision of land into fewer than 50 lots.
The Preliminary Plat review process is managed by the Planning Department and coordinated with County and certain external agencies. A Public Hearing is not required, although Preliminary Plats are available for viewing each month online. The process is an administrative process designed to ensure the technical requirements are met.
Plans are filed in accordance with the monthly deadline calendar.
The plans are distributed to all applicable agencies for review and comment. Following the comment deadline, a meeting is held between the applicant and/or representative and the County staff to discuss the proposal in relation to the departmental comments. Staff reviewers provide detailed comments as well as identify key issues that must be addressed prior to recommending approval of the application. The applicant may resubmit plans to address staff comments. Once the key technical issues are addressed, the Director may approve the Preliminary Plat.
If the Preliminary Plat is approved, the applicant has a period of twelve months in which to apply for Final Plat approval.
Approval of a Final Plat by the Director of Planning is required prior to recordation of a subdivision plat in the Circuit Court (except for Minor Subdivisions as discussed below). A final plat may be approved for all, or a portion of, the land approved to be subdivided on an approved Preliminary Plat. A Preliminary Plat approval is optional, but not required for subdivision of land into 50 lots or less.
The Final Plat review process is managed by the Planning Department and coordinated with County and certain external agencies. This administrative process is designed to ensure the technical requirements are met.
The plans are distributed to all applicable agencies for review and comment. Following the comment deadline, a meeting is held between the applicant and/or representative and the County staff to discuss the proposal in relation to the departmental comments. Staff reviewers provide detailed comments as well as identify key issues that must be addressed prior to recommending approval of the application. The applicant may resubmit plans to address staff comments. Once the key technical issues are addressed, the Director may approve the Final Plat.
If the Final Plat is approved, the applicant may move forward with approval of construction plans. The applicant revises the plans as necessary to address the remainder of the technical comments in accordance with the approval, and submits revised plans for review. The Planning staff will coordinate the review of the revised plans, and route the revised plans to Planning, the Department of Public Utilities, and the Department of Public Works for approval signatures, once the plans are finalized.
If the Final Plat is approved by the Director of Planning, the applicant has a period of one year in which to record the subdivision.
Should the applicant be unable to request final approval or record the subdivision plats within the required time period, a written request for an extension of preliminary or final plat approval may be submitted to the Planning Department for consideration by the Director of Planning.
The applicant may record the plat following construction plan approval. In order to record the subdivision, the applicant must submit plats for technical check and approval signatures. Financial guarantees of the construction of the public improvements in each subdivision must be filed. After the improvements are constructed or the guarantee is accepted by the County, the applicant records the subdivision plats with the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office.
After the subdivision plats are recorded, the developer may submit plans for building permit approval.
A Minor Subdivision procedure is available to approve any property/parcel adjustments which are outside of the scope of the established processes of Preliminary and Final Plats. Approval of a Minor Subdivision does not require submittal and approval of a Preliminary or Final Plat. Instead, a Minor Subdivision application including a survey is submitted for review, and if approved, the survey plat may be recorded.
Minor Subdivisions are not intended to include approval of construction plans; therefore, if public improvements such as utility extensions or road construction are needed, a Final Plat must be applied for instead, unless separate approval of the associated plans are authorized by Department of Public Works and/or Department of Public Utilities. A Minor Subdivision has an abbreviated review procedure.
All Minor Subdivisions must undergo at least one pre-recordation review. The review and approval process for each type of Minor Subdivision is detailed more fully in the document linked below.
Minor Subdivisions include any of the following:
A Family Subdivision is a single division of a lot or parcel for the purpose of sale or gift to a member of the immediate family of the owner that does not require a new public street. One division is allowed for each family member, and that portion of the original lot which is to be transferred pursuant to the Family Subdivision may not be subsequently transferred, except to a member of the immediate family, for a period of five years.
Lots created under Family Subdivision approval are not required to front on a public road for the 50-foot minimum. However, if the lot lacks the required 50 feet of public road frontage a private drive must be constructed. Therefore, the family subdivisions are broken into two categories for review and approval.
- If each of the proposed lot(s) meet the required minimum 50 feet public road frontage, the review and approval may follow a Minor Subdivision
- If any of the proposed lot(s) lack the required minimum 50 feet public road frontage, the Final Plat process is the applicable review and approval process in order to accommodate construction of required facilities.
Division of a lot or parcel of land pursuant to a plan of development
To create a division of a lot or parcel which has a previous POD or Site Plan approval, a minor subdivision application is required, unless a subsequent POD or Site Plan includes the proposed division within the submission for review/approval. The Minor Subdivision is solely for the recordation of the parcel division and may not include other construction or work to be performed.
Vacation, Relocation, Resubdivsion, or Other Alteration of Individual Lots
All lots/parcels of land must undergo a review and approval process by the Department of Planning to ensure proposed adjustments do not create any zoning violations. This process is eligible for all residentially zoned properties, provided no other work is proposed beyond the lot/property line adjustments. This process cannot be utilized to create any additional residential buildable lots.