A subdivision is the division or combination of any parcel, or parcels of land into 1 or more lots, tracts, or parcels for the purpose of transfer of ownership or building development. In effect, any change in a property description is subject to review under the city's subdivision ordinance. No one may subdivide property without following the city's subdivision regulations.

Major Subdivision
A major subdivision is the dividing of a lot, tract or parcel into 6 or more lots, tracts or parcels, any division of previously unplatted land, or any division of land that creates a new street. Both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council must approve all major subdivisions.

The following steps will guide you through the major subdivision process. Staff is available at any point during the subdivision process to assist you or your representative with any questions or concerns you may have. There is also a no-cost Pre-Subdivision Review Committee (see application (PDF)).

1st Step: Initial Contact
You are encouraged to contact the Development Review Office of the Planning and Development Department for general information. The staff can inform you of:
  • Any requirements that may be made
  • Any special circumstances that need to be considered
  • The deadlines and processing time involved
Aerial view of a residential subdivision
The staff can also give you an initial impression of what the city's response may be to your plans.
The subdivision regulations containing all the city's regulations on the subdivision of property are available online. You should also contact the Public Works Department and City Utilities at this stage to find out what information they may need, and any requirements they may have. It is recommended, but not required, that you hire a surveyor or engineer to assist you at this stage.

Time Frame
The overall length of time from the sketch plan deadline to the approval of the preliminary plat is 60 to 74 days. Staff review of the final plat takes an average of 2 - 4 weeks. It will take time for you to construct any required improvements before your plat can be recorded. Please keep this time frame in mind and start the process early enough that you will be able to sell lots or get building permits when you need them.

2nd Step: Pre-Subdivision Review
You must submit electronically through e-plans a Plan showing conceptually how you want to subdivide your property with the completed Pre-Subdivision Review Application form to the Development Review Office. The Pre-Subdivision Review meeting is open to the public. The Development Review Office staff will notify you of the time and date of your meeting with staff. After the meeting, you can access e-plans to review staff's comments, suggestions, requirements, or corrections that must be made to your plat.

3rd Step: Preliminary Plat
At this point you must hire a surveyor or engineer, if you haven't already done so, to prepare your preliminary plat. The subdivision regulations and the preliminary plat checklist (PDF) will assist your surveyor or engineer in preparing your preliminary plat.

All of the following items must be submitted in e-plans to constitute a complete preliminary plat submittal:
  • Completed preliminary plat application (PDF) signed by the property owner at the time the application is filed (if more than 1 property is involved, you must submit an application from the owner of each property)
  • The application fee (see fee schedule)
  • An electronic version of the Preliminary plat signed and sealed by the surveyor (submitted electronically through e-plans)
  • Request to secure public improvements (if needed)
  • Preliminary Plat Checklist
Plat Review
You will be notified of the date, time and place of the Administrative Review Committee meeting. The committee will review your preliminary plat to determine if all the required information is shown correctly on the preliminary plat. If so, the preliminary plat will be placed on the Planning and Zoning Commission agenda. Staff will advise you and/or your surveyor or engineer of any corrections, comments, or additional requirements.
You will be notified of the date, time and place of the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.
The Development Review Office staff will prepare a staff report to the Planning and Zoning Commission that will contain the staff recommendation to the commission. The recommendation will contain any conditions of approval that city staff considers appropriate. These conditions typically include:
  • Construction of streets, sidewalks and stormwater detention facilities
  • Limitations of access, etc.
  • Requirements for additional right of way
You will receive a copy of the staff report the week prior to the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. You or your representative should attend the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. The commission might not vote on your preliminary plat if they have questions and you are not there to answer them.

Commission Decision
If the Planning and Zoning Commission approves or denies your preliminary plat it will be sent to City Council for their approval.
City Council Meetings
City Council will have 2 meetings (2 weeks apart) on your preliminary plat. You or your representative are not required to attend the City Council meetings, but it is recommended that you attend the 1st meeting in case City Council has any questions. City Council will approve, deny or table your preliminary plat at the 2nd meeting. If your preliminary plat is approved, you will be sent a copy of the ordinance containing all the conditions of that approval through e-plans. You have 2 years in which to submit a final plat that substantially conforms to your preliminary plat. If City Council denies your preliminary plat, you may appeal the decision to Circuit Court.

4th Step: Final Plat
You must submit engineering plans for all the required public improvements to the Public Works Department prior to this stage. Public works cannot review a final plat without having approved public improvement plans on file.

You may submit a final plat on all or a portion of the area within the preliminary plat. The subdivision regulations and the final plat checklist (PDF) will assist your surveyor or engineer in preparing your final plat. All of the following items must be submitted to constitute a complete final plat submittal:
Final Plat Submittal
A complete final plat submittal renews your preliminary plat approval for 2 additional years. If a final plat has not been submitted within 2 years your preliminary plat must be re-approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council by the end of the 2nd year, or it will expire and you will be required to submit a new preliminary plat.
Staff Review
The staff review of the final plat and the improvement plans requires an average of 2 - 4 weeks, but this time frame can be lengthened or shortened by many factors. Staff will gladly discuss ways to speed up the review process on individual cases.

Recording of Final Plat

You must submit an electronic version of the final plat signed and sealed by the surveyor through e-plans then submit 2 mylars of the corrected final plat to the Development Review Office along with the certification of title and other original documents needed to be recorded. These and other documents will be held until a release is received from public works stating that all the public improvements required by city ordinances for your subdivision have been completed. All improvements must either be constructed and accepted by the city or you must provide adequate financial assurances acceptable to the Public Works Department (see request to secure public improvements). Financial assurances are valid for 1 year.

When the release is received from the Public Works Department, staff will record your final plat. You may then sell lots or obtain building permits.

Preliminary Plat Renewal
As stated above, the submittal of a final plat renews your preliminary plat approval for 2 additional years. If a final plat is recorded for 1 phase of your preliminary plat, the remainder of your preliminary plat is valid for 1 year. If you are unable to submit another final plat within that year you must ask for your preliminary plat to be renewed.