What Kinds of Town or City Regulations Govern Subdivisions?


Quick Answer

Municipalities govern new and existing subdivisions under regulations addressing concerns about the public safety, equitable land distribution, public utilities and transportation qualities of a subdivided property. The majority of the regulations occur during the approval process of a new subdivision, during which a municipality has to verify that the proposed division provides an adequate arrangement for developers or tenants.

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Full Answer

A municipality regulates the creation and maintenance of subdivisions so that the addition of new distinct properties does not clash with the municipality's ability to provide public services or goals concerning the community environment. Cities that offer public services, including transportation, education or utilities, may not approve the use of land for specific subdivisions if the process makes it less efficient to provide these services. Municipalities also use regulations to assure that subdivisions used for housing are allocated in an equitable manner, according to living standards and property tax considerations.

Additionally, municipalities may have certain planning goals set for the community that subdivisions have to meet in order to receive approval, including preservation of natural features and open space, as well as environmental protection. As of 2015, in Howard County, Maryland, for example, subdivision zoning laws require preservation of scenic roads and forests as part of the approval and regulatory process.

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