How do local laws restrict subdivisions?


Quick Answer

Local zoning laws typically regulate land subdivision, explains Lawyers.com. These ordinances detail permitted lot sizes, define street specifications and indicate the amount of land that should to be set aside for utilities. For this and other reasons, land subdivision is subject to legal processes of varying complexity.

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Full Answer

The process of splitting land into few parcels, such as two or four, is typically subject to less complex legal requirements than subdivisions of greater scale, explains Lawyers.com. Major subdivisions may require prior public hearings and complex site plans detailing planned land use. Additionally, some states may demand payment to construct any new infrastructure required.

Apart from local statutory ordinances, private contracts can influence land subdivision, notes legal firm Roberts & Roberts. Known as "restrictive covenants," "deed restrictions," or "covenants, conditions and restrictions," these contracts may define minimum lot sizes and thus curtail subdivisions below a certain threshold. As restrictive covenants and statutory ordinances operate independently, there may be conflicts between these two forms of regulation. In such cases, the stricter provision prevails.

However, restrictive covenants can be modified in certain circumstances, explains Roberts & Roberts. Similarly, zoning changes are possible but remarkably difficult to get, states Lawyer.com. Parties seeking such alterations need to issue public notices, attend hearings and successfully counter objections before receiving zoning variances from local regulators.

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