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Thread: Platting review

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    Platting review

    I am trying to construct a letter to go with my Plat Application.

    Maybe the great throbbing brain can help.

    I have had a couple of plats come in for application, that within moments of looking at them you could tell that they had quite simply not even looked at the regulations.

    The last one I sent back after a brief look see, then the surveyor called me back and asked that I review it and tell him what was lacking. That means I have to review it twice. Knowing that I may have to do that anyway, why would I wish to entertain that much time.

    I guess that the question that I am asking is what type of review or meetings do you require before placing a subdivision on the agenda?
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Checklists can help - if you don't provide the information required (or ask for a waiver) you don't get on the agenda. But what you can do varies a lot by state statute. In RI, for example, the town must issue a "certificate of completeness" before the subdvision can be considered by the Board. In other states the clock starts ticking as soon as the application is submitted and if they fail to supply the required information it has to be denied on that basis. So be careful that if you simply refuse to put it on the agenda there isn't an automatic approval after a certain amount of time.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    In my old city of employment, no pre-development meeting was required, but it was strongly encouraged. Thing was, the people that should schedule a meeting (chronic violators) never did, and the developers who turn in A+ work always called ahead.

    I would recommend creating a pre-submittal checklist that is available with the application. This would cover all the hot spots (tax map #, proposed street names, zoning, land coverage, contact info, etc), and the things that help you the reviewer know what's going on (# of units, size, etc). Require that the applicant complete the checklist in addition to the application, then you have that on file. In TX, the municipality only has 30 days, so a completeness review is usually completed within one week. In Houston, deadline for application was Monday at 11 and completeness checks were done by Friday at noon (we usually got over 200 applications per submittal window, and all are received electronically).

    When you start creating the checklist, it'll seem like a long list, because you'll want to include everything. Trim it to a managable one page by only including the deal-killer items. Then add as space allows.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  4. #4
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I don't know what the procedure for other counties may be.

    Ours is that the applicant seeking final plat includes a draft survey. The planner reviews it to be sure it includes the necessary elements under the Platting Act, our regulations and the conditions of approval for the subdivision. The planner makes any notations necessary, then forwards it to the Examining Land Surveyor, who is a surveyor contracted by the county to double-check the surveyor's work. The examining land surveyor makes his comments and gives it to our Permit Coordinator. The surveyor gets the draft with the necessary changes and the review sheet and prepares the mylars.

    Before the mylars are forwarded to the Commission for their signature, the planner and the examining land surveyor check it to be sure the corrections have been made. If not, we send it back.

    No plat can be filed unless it has been signed by the planner, the examining land surveyor, the commissioners, county attorney and treasurer. The Clerk and Recorder will not file a plat unless it has the completed review sheet with the necessary signatures.

    For the filing of family transfers, boundary relocations, retracements and plats of property in the city, the applicants have to go through a survey review procedure that requires concept approval (where the survey review committee - county atty, planner and clerk and recorder - review the proposal and file out a review sheet), then final approval of the completed survey, before filing of the certificate of survey.

    Most of the surveyors know the process. Some have to be told and retold.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  5. #5
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Always require a pre-application meeting. Saves time and helps the customer.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    I will prepare a concept drawing and set up an informal meeting with City Staff to see if it is a workable plan. I will bring up any variances that the developer is looking for to see if there is any possibility on getting those approved. (I usually know the answer going in but go through the motions for the benifit of the client)

    If everyhthing looks good, I move on the Preliminary Plat. I go throught the City's subdivision regulations and check off each requirement as it is met. Or prepare a request for variance if it is not. This will be reviewed by the BZAP.

    Once they are happy, I prepare the engineering drawings to be reviewed by City staff. Once again checking off each requirement as it is met.

    Then I prepare the Final Plat, using the sub'd regs and the last approved plat as a guide. The council will approve the plat based on the recomendation of BZAP and the staff on the engineering drawings.

    I learned early in my career not to half a$$ throw something together and expect the reviewer to mark it up. I also learned you have a much better chance getting things passed if they are in order the first time. You know what the plat should look like. I'd say if its not 90% there, send it back with a copy of the sub'd regulations and tell him to start over.

  7. #7
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by savemattoon View post
    I will prepare a concept drawing and set up an informal meeting with City Staff to see if it is a workable plan. I will bring up any variances that the developer is looking for to see if there is any possibility on getting those approved. (I usually know the answer going in but go through the motions for the benifit of the client)....

    Snip

    I'd say if its not 90% there, send it back with a copy of the sub'd regulations and tell him to start over.
    Can you move your company to Chicago's Northwest suburbs are do all the subdivision plats that come to my place of work.

    Please.

    And if you can do engineering plans too that'd be great.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  8. #8
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Do planners generally review cost estimate for bonds? At what point in the process is this required in your jurisdiction, preliminary or final?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    Do planners generally review cost estimate for bonds? At what point in the process is this required in your jurisdiction, preliminary or final?
    We review them at the final plat stage. If the estimate doesn't seem right, we take it to another engineer for his opinion.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  10. #10
    Quote Originally posted by otterpop View post
    We review them at the final plat stage. If the estimate doesn't seem right, we take it to another engineer for his opinion.
    Same here in Hoosierland. You can't really prepare a valid estimate until the construction docs are complete and we do not require those until the final plat is to be considered by the planning commission.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Our statutes allow a 60 day review window. We issue a technical review letter within 10 days of receipt. If the defects are not fixed in time, it is listed on the agenda for denial. That gets their attention.

  12. #12
         
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    Quote Originally posted by Queen B View post
    I guess that the question that I am asking is what type of review or meetings do you require before placing a subdivision on the agenda?
    My office does not schedule a project with Planning Commission until it is complete and has been reviewed and sent back to the applicant, corrected and resubmitted and review again and staff is satisfied with the application. I have seen projects reviewed 5 or 6 times before they are ready for a hearing. We try for a 2 to 3 week turn-around on reviews.

    Staff will meet with an applicant/consultant as many times as they want. I like to do pre-application meetings and also do a conceptual review on all but the most simple applications. I try to get most major issues decided before the applicant starts pouring money into a project with engineering costs with detailed construction plans and reports.

    When staff and the applicant/consultant can not reach agreement we will go forward with conditions and let the PC make a determination. We do allow variances on street radii and block length for a good reason like very low volume streets or natural features in the land.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian solarstar's avatar
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    For newbies in platting, we usually set up a preapp or at least an informal meeting first (although some insist they already know what to do). We also use a detailed checklist that does help somewhat - can't fit it on 1 page but at 1 1/2 pages it's not too bad. Applicants make an appointment to submit apps, and at that time I do have to go over them in some detail to make sure everything is there. There may be issues that are obvious and I'll mention them, but can still put the plat on the schedule at that point.

    As for cost estimates, our staff engineer reviews them. I don't have the ability to say if a cost estimate is correct, but our Public Works people do and I rely completely on them. This is required at the time of Final Plat (too many items change during Improvement Plan review to make it practical to require it upfront at prelim).

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