Before You Build: The Basics of Land Subdivision

Before You Build: The Basics of Land Subdivision

(Ariel view of Woodmill Creek, a multi-family, single family, office and retail development in South Montgomery Country.)

PinPoint Commercial is one of the industry’s leading full-service real estate developing companies, with projects covering over 575 acres of land across Texas, including three deed restricted industrial park projects and one mixed-use residential/business park project. We have also completed, or are in the process of completing, several land development projects for assisted living and memory care facilities located across Texas, as well as in Florida, Louisiana and Georgia.

Our years of experience and projects spanning several states have allowed to “dig deep” when it comes to topics of land development. At the start of any successful project, land subdivision is an important part of the initial process. Whether the final building goal is a successful senior housing community or a large industrial complex designed to speedily receive rail and freight cargo, development begins with a legal lot, a parcel of land that meets zoning and platting laws. The process of subdividing that land into two or more lots is also subject to strict county and municipal regulations.

The process of real estate or land development consists of three stages:

  • Zoning and/or land use entitlements
  • Land subdivision
  • Construction permits for site development, building and subdivision construction

Let’s take a closer look at what is involved in step two: land subdivision.

What is Land Subdivision?

Land subdivision is the legal dividing up of a lot, track or parcel of land into two or more lots or plats to sell, transfer or develop. Development includes the planning and construction of buildings, public streets, and public use areas, as well as the placement of public utilities, and the construction of drainage structures.

The subdivision process is handled by the county, city, or, in the case of a piece of land located in the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction of a city, both the city and country. Generally speaking, the owner of a subdivision cannot begin development before filing a subdivision plat application.

Once a request for land subdivision is approved, a subdivision plat (or “plat”) will remain on record at the office of the country clerk.

Texas State Law and Land Subdivision

In order to be approved and recorded, the subdivision plat must meet four statutory requirements:

  • The land subdivision must be accurately described in terms of “metes and bounds.”
  • The land must be located with respect to the original survey for which it is a part.
  • The plat must provide the dimensions of each lot, street, alley, square, park or other part of the land subdivision that will be dedicated to public or private use.
  • The legal property owner must provide acknowledgement of the subdivision.

Be aware that other subdivision ordinances may be implemented by a city or county. However, if there are no additional ordinances, and these four requirements are met, Texas state law requires the plat must be approved and recorded.

Misdemeanor violation of land subdivision requirements carries a fine of up to $1,000 per violation and/or 90-days in jail. Criminal or civil penalties for non-compliance with subdivision regulations may prohibit the approval of future site development and building, of utility permits, and utility services, including water, electric and gas.

PinPoint Commercial’s Land Development Services

Given the complexity of land subdivision, it is important land and real estate developers possess a thorough knowledge of local, city and state laws and the subdivision process, in order to facilitate the safe and timely completion of building projects. PinPoint Commercial provides clients with the high-level of expertise necessary to navigate the challenges and future of real estate development. Contact us today for more information about our services.