The process of subdividing land begins with the land developer applying for a zoning permit with the municipality. Approval from the municipality is generally based on whether or not the land can be developed and, if so, the type of zoning.
Municipalities divide land into legal parcels, and in most areas, zoning laws are established to regulate the process of splitting land into smaller parcels to create a subdivision. Some municipalities may have simplified procedures if the developer is only interested into dividing the property into a few parcels by means of a lot split.
Subdividing a larger subdivision involves a more complex process. The land developer usually has to prepare a subdivision map or site plan that outlines the details for the planned property use. Subdivision laws may cover the size of the lot, the street specifications and any utility requirements. Many states give their local governments the authority to require land developers to pay for the infrastructure for their projects. Some of those costs include roads, schools and new utilities, if applicable. A developer typically goes through many public hearings and hears and responds to the concerns of anyone who is opposed to the project before the subdivision is approved.