Subdividing property is the division of a lot, tract or parcel of land into two or more lots, tracts or parcels, any of which are less than five acres in area for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of sale or of building development. Subdividing property includes re-subdividing property and boundary line adjustments. In addition, the following affect subdivisions: Divisions of land for agricultural purposes not involving the establishment of a new street or access easements shall be exempt from the regulations. Industrial property shall be developed within the framework of the subdivision requirements. As noted above, the term "subdivision" includes re-subdivision and, when appropriate to the context, shall relate to the process of subdividing or to the land subdivided.
The property owner should contact the City Planner, who can help determine whether the subdivision should be reviewed as a "minor" subdivision or as a "major" subdivision (also known as a preliminary plat).
A minor subdivision is the division of a single lot or parcel of land, which consists of five or less acres in gross area, is proposed to be divided into not more than four lots, or where the lot lines of existing lots are proposed to be changed or vacated of existing lot lines, provided that the subdivision:
Conforms to all applicable zoning regulations.
Does not involve any new public street, road, or easement of access.
Does not offer opportunity to obstruct the floodplain or a planned major street.
Does not adversely affect any part of any adopted plan.
Does not in any way violate the intent of the Subdivision Ordinance or any applicable Zoning Ordinance.
If the subdivision does not meet the standards as stated above, then it is a "major" subdivision and must follow the requirements of a preliminary plat as specified in the Subdivision Ordinance. A preliminary plat must be reviewed by the City's Planning Commission. Once approved by the Planning Commission, a final plat must be submitted.
The property owner needs to fill out an application for a Minor Subdivision and pay the required processing fee. Along with the application form, you will need to provide copies of the plat, prepared by a certified land surveyor licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, showing the metes and bounds of the lots resulting from the subdivision. The plat should meet the final plat requirements outlined in the Subdivision Ordinance Section 10-2-25.
If the plat submitted meets all City requirements, it generally takes seven to ten working days to review. If staff finds that changes to the plat are necessary, additional time shall be needed. To minimize delays, staff will notify the applicant as soon as possible if corrections or additional information is necessary. After staff has reviewed the subdivision and it has been found satisfactory, the plat can be approved. Once the plat is signed by the Director of Planning and Community Development, the plat must be recorded at the Courthouse within 60 days or it shall become null and void. After it has been recorded, please supply the deed book and page numbers to the City Planner.
The property owner needs to fill out an application for a major subdivision (preliminary plat) and pay the required processing fee. Along with the application form, you will need to provide copies of the plat, which meet the preliminary plat requirements outlined in the Subdivision Ordinance Section 10-2-23. Depending upon the type of major subdivision that one is hoping to perform, the plat may need to be prepared by a certified licensed engineer.
Since preliminary plats must be reviewed by the Planning Commission, the length of time it takes to receive approval of this type of subdivision depends upon when one submits an application. The Planning Commission meets once a month on the second Wednesday of every month. The deadline for the next available Planning Commission meeting is always the Tuesday before the monthly Planning Commission meeting. For example, if you submit a preliminary plat application on January 1st, the application is not reviewed by Planning Commission during the January regular meeting but rather during the Commission's February regular meeting. A copy of submission deadlines is available in the Department of Planning and Community Development or found on the Planning Commission page.
Once the preliminary plat is approved, a final plat must be submitted to the Planning and Community Development Department, where the timeline and process is similar to a minor subdivision process as described above.
Where a subdivider can show that a provision of the Subdivision Ordinance would cause an unnecessary hardship if strictly adhered to, because of topographical or other conditions peculiar to the site, a variance may be granted, provided that such variation will not have the effect of nullifying the intent and purpose of the Comprehensive Plan or the Subdivision Ordinance or the Design and Construction Standards Manual. Variance requests can only be approved by City Council.
To apply for a plat variance, an application/petition requesting the variance and required fee shall be filed in the Department of Planning and Community Development in sufficient time to be placed on the Planning Commission agenda. The plan of development for the proposed change and all data pertaining thereto shall be filed in the office of the City Planner in sufficient time for conducting staff review prior to consideration by the Planning Commission. A copy of submission deadlines is available in the Department of Planning and Community Development or found on the Planning Commission page.
Following a staff review, Planning Commission will make a voting recommendation to City Council on whether the variance should be approved. City Council will then review the Planning Commission's recommendation (usually the month following the Planning Commission meeting), at which time it will vote to approve or deny the request.
To view additional information regarding variances to the Subdivision Ordinance see Section 10-2-2 of the City Code.