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Regulatory Handbook -> Local Permits -> Subdivision Approval

Subdivision Approval

What is the Purpose of this Approval?
Local governments, through ordinances, have primary authority to regulate the dividing of land for residential or other purposes. The 1990 Growth Management Act requires that local governments, as part of the subdivision approval process, make written findings that appropriate provisions have been made for the necessary infrastructure to support the subdivision. Depending upon the size of the subdivision, these findings may be made by either the local legislative body or administrative agency. Included in the list of items to be verified is potable water supplies. This may require a permit from Ecology.

Requirements established through local ordinance include minimum lot size, lot configuration, frontage, streets, utilities, site design, and open space. Common types of subdivisions include:
  1. Large lot subdivisions. Regulates the subdivision of land into large parcels, usually 5 acres or greater. Requirements are typically less stringent than plat requirements. This type of plat is approved administratively. This application may require the filing of surveys with the short plat map.

  2. Short Plat. Regulates the subdivision of land into four or fewer lots (or, in some cities, nine or fewer). This application may also require the filing of surveys with the short plat map, and requirements are usually less stringent than plat requirements. This type of plat is approved administratively.

  3. Regulates the subdivision of land when five or more lots are proposed (or, in some cities, 10 or more). This process requires a public hearing. Approval is generally given in two parts:

    1. The preliminary plat review involves an approximate drawing of the proposed subdivision showing the number of lots planned, general layout of streets, lots, open space, and restrictive covenants. Approval of the preliminary plat is the go ahead to construct roads and lay utilities.

    2. The final plat requires submittal of complete survey data and detailed plans illustrating building lots, street layout and design, location of utilities, and lands dedicated for open space and other public purposes. Lots cannot be developed until final plat approval is given. Usually roads and utilities must already be developed or a bond posted to assure their completion.
Who Issues this Approval?
Local Government - City or County
What Activities Require this Approval?
Local governments, through ordinances, have primary authority to regulate the dividing of land for residential or other purposes.
How Much Will this Approval Cost?
Variable. Contact local government.
Statewide Contact:
Local Government - City or County
Planning Departments
For assistance contact 1-800-917-0043 (Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance)
Website: http://mrsc.org/Research-Tools.aspx
* Permit information last updated 8/22/2016
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