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Thread: Alternatives to subdivision review process

  1. #1
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    May 2003
    Staff meeting

    Alternatives to subdivision review process

    We have a typical subdivision review process in our mostly built-out 2nd/3rd ring suburb. It consists of the mainstays: submission of Preliminary Plats of Subdivision with full engineering, etc. then most go to Plan Commission and Village Board for prelim and final review and all impact fees must be paid prior to final approval. This is a typical process, in my experience, and can take between 5-12 months on average (depending on developer and consultants)

    Well, we have a requirement in the Subdivision regulations that require lot consolidation for single-family when the property owner wishes to purchase an adjoining property and incorporate it in order to do a unified development with the existing property (ie. large addition, one new giant house, etc.)

    This proposal would require full Subdivision review for a consolidation (subdivision to consolidate multiple lots into one) which is generally geared with larger, more experienced developers in mind. But do to a recent project it was determined the typical subdivision process might be too onerous for the homeowner (as in this case).

    So...does anyone have thoughts about how to create a new process or slight change to existing porcess that would make this easier and quicker for the petitioner. I am thinking that maybe a new process that is quicker and less costly but similar to a subdivision process, or something else completely.

    BTW, this requirement was part of our efforts to reign in the rampant residential teardowns here. Before, one could buy as many contiguous lots as one wishes and build a house as big as the underlying zoning would permit on that zoning lot.
    Last edited by mendelman; 03 Aug 2005 at 5:28 PM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  2. #2
    Member DRJ's avatar
    Aug 2005
    At a former employer we had an Exemption Plat. It could only be used when there was no public utilities (road, water, sewer) being brought to the site. The exemption plat was submitted and reviewed by staff. Once it met city engineer and zoning regulations it would be sent to the City Council members for a 10-day review period. If no objection was lodged, it was approved. This jurisdiction had a very weak Planning Commission so they had no involvement in the process. Typically it was used for lot consolidations and for subdividing land for new development where they could do so under current zoning regulation. It was not a perfect system by any means, but it did keep these small projects from having to go through the cumbersome, time-consuming, and expensive regular platting processes.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Blog entries


    Wasn't there a recent thread dealing with this issue? You might find good info there.....

    I used to work in a County that allowed lot consolidation plats to be signed by the Director of Planning prior to recordation. The lots being consolidated had to be legal lots either by subdivision previously or otherwise by state law (like 8 other different ways to have a declared legal lot). This was a nice way to handle these simple requests and was a great incentive for people to consolidate non-conforming lots that couldn't readily be built under current codes The idea was that this task was ministerial in nature since no new lots were created and only legal existing lots could be consolidated. It required letters from all easement owners and a title report to verify ownership along with signatures.

    We also had exemption plats, but they were designed to allow owners of family ranches to divide the property into at least four lots for relatives or in reality to sell. This was popular because, while there is a state law (Colorado) allowing for wills to create lots, this isn't popular because of the tax implications involved. Rather, living parents would opt for an LLC for family members that slowly transferred property to avoid taxes.....I think.....Exemptions still required County Commissioner reviews and P&Z review and a bigger fee.....

    Note: Wow, that felt good....the one hasn't provided a serious planning related response in a while now......gee wiz, this Cyburbia is pretty cool....
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  4. #4
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
    Apr 1996
    New Hampshire
    We have this in NH:

    RSA 674:39-a Voluntary Merger. – Any owner of 2 or more contiguous preexisting approved or subdivided lots or parcels who wishes to merge them for municipal regulation and taxation purposes may do so by applying to the planning board or its designee. Except where such merger would create a violation of then-current ordinances or regulations, all such requests shall be approved, and no public hearing or notice shall be required. No new survey plat need be recorded, but a notice of the merger, sufficient to identify the relevant parcels and endorsed in writing by the planning board or its designee, shall be filed for recording in the registry of deeds, and a copy mailed to the municipality's assessing officials. No such merged parcel shall thereafter be separately transferred without subdivision approval.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

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