Subdividing property is the division of a lot, tract or parcel of land into two or more lots, tracts or parcels, any of which are less than five acres in area for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of sale or of building development. Subdividing property includes re-subdividing property and boundary line adjustments. In addition, the following affect subdivisions: Divisions of land for agricultural purposes not involving the establishment of a new street or access easements shall be exempt from the regulations. Industrial property shall be developed within the framework of the subdivision requirements. As noted above, the term "subdivision" includes re-subdivision and, when appropriate to the context, shall relate to the process of subdividing or to the land subdivided.
Final Subdivision Application [125KB]
The property owner should contact the Planning & Zoning Division, who can help determine whether the subdivision should be reviewed as a "minor" subdivision or as a "major" subdivision (also known as a preliminary plat).
A minor subdivision is the division of a single lot or parcel of land, which consists of five or less acres in gross area, is proposed to be divided into not more than four lots, or where the lot lines of existing lots are proposed to be changed or vacated of existing lot lines, provided that the subdivision:
Conforms to all applicable zoning regulations.
Does not involve any new public street, road, or easement of access.
Does not offer opportunity to obstruct the floodplain or a planned major street.
Does not adversely affect any part of any adopted plan.
If the subdivision does not meet the standards as stated above, then it is a "major" subdivision and must follow the requirements of a preliminary plat as specified in the Subdivision Ordinance. A preliminary plat must be reviewed by the City's Planning Commission. Once approved by the Planning Commission, a final plat must be submitted.
- The property owner needs to fill out an application for a Minor Subdivision and pay the required processing fee. Along with the application form, you will need to provide one copy of the plat, prepared by a certified land surveyor licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, showing the metes and bounds of the lots resulting from the subdivision. The plat should meet the final plat requirements outlined in the Subdivision Ordinance Section 10-2-25 (b). Note that in lieu of Section 10-2-25 (a), only one copy is required, to scale, at any size paper that meets the requirements of Rockingham County Clerk of Court’s Land Recordation Standards. If deed of easements are required, they can be submitted at this time for review also. At this time, property owner signatures on the plat are not necessary.
- If the plat submitted meets all City requirements, it generally takes 7 to 10 working days to review.
- If staff finds that changes to the plat or deed of easement(s) are necessary, additional time shall be needed. To minimize delays, staff will notify the property owner and/or their representative as soon as possible if corrections or additional information is necessary.
- After staff has reviewed the plat and deed of easement(s) and it has been found acceptable, staff will request that an original copy of the plat certified by the licensed land surveyor and the deed of easement be submitted. The can be approved and signed by the Director of Community Development and the deed of easement(s) approved and signed by the City Manager. If the applicant requires multiple copies of the plat or deed of easement(s) to be signed, this would be the time to submit additional copies. (Property owners/appropriate parties can sign the plat either before or after the Director of Community Development signs. The Community Development Department staff are available to notarize the documents, if needed, please call ahead to confirm a notary is available.)
- Once the plat is signed by the Director (and City Manager, if applicable), the you will be contacted to pick up the documents.
- The documents must be recorded at the Courthouse within 60 days or it shall become null and void. After it has been recorded, you are asked to supply the deed book and page numbers to staff.
Pre-Application Meeting. Prior to submitting application(s) for a preliminary plat, applicants should schedule a pre-application meeting with City staff to discuss the proposal and City requirements. If the project requires a Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA), then the pre-application meeting shall be held prior to the TIA scoping meeting. For projects requiring a TIA and large scale projects, the pre-application meeting will include representatives from various city departments including, but not limited to, Community Development (Planning & Zoning, Engineering, Building Inspections), Fire, Public Works, Public Utilities, and Public Transportation. Typically, these pre-application meetings are scheduled 3-4 weeks from the date of request. For small scale projects, a meeting or phone call with just Planning staff could be sufficient.
In preparation for the pre-application meeting, the applicant shall provide a “conceptual” or “preliminary” layout of their proposed development one week prior to the pre-application meeting. The layout should illustrate in general terms the characteristics of the proposal: location, types of uses, physical features of the property, adjacent roads, internal layout of structures, utilities, streets, and entrances.
Please contact Planning staff at the Department of Community Development at 540-432-7700 to schedule a pre-application meeting. Applicants may request more than one pre-application meeting.
- Submit application. The property owner needs to fill out an application for a major subdivision (preliminary plat) and pay the required processing fee. Along with the application form, you will need to provide one copy of the plat, which meet the preliminary plat requirements outlined in the Subdivision Ordinance Section 10-2-23. Depending upon the type of major subdivision that one is hoping to perform, the plat may need to be prepared by a certified licensed engineer.
- Review. Since preliminary plats must be reviewed by the Planning Commission, the length of time it takes to receive approval of this type of subdivision depends upon when one submits an application. The Planning Commission meets once a month on the second Wednesday of every month. Meeting Dates and Application Deadlines.
- Approval. Once the preliminary plat is approved by the Planning Commission, a final plat must be submitted to the Community Development Department, where the timeline and process is similar to a minor subdivision process as described above for Minor Subdivisions.
How to Apply for a Major Subdivision (Preliminary Plat) with Subdivision Variances
Where a subdivider can show that a provision of the Subdivision Ordinance would cause an unnecessary hardship if strictly adhered to, because of topographical or other conditions peculiar to the site, a variance may be granted, provided that such variation will not have the effect of nullifying the intent and purpose of the Comprehensive Plan or the Subdivision Ordinance or the Design and Construction Standards Manual. Variance requests can only be approved by City Council.
The City of Harrisonburg hosts pre-application meetings for rezonings, special use permits, major subdivisions (preliminary plats), street/alley closings, and engineered comprehensive site plans twice a month for property owners, developers, engineers, attorneys, etc. to meet with city departments including, but not limited to, Community Development (Planning & Zoning, Engineering, Building Inspections), Fire, Public Works, Public Utilities, and Public Transportation.
Please visit Pre-Applications Meetings for more information.
- Submit application. The applicant needs to fill out an application for a major subdivision (preliminary plat) and pay the required processing fee. Along with the application form, you will need to provide one (1) copy of the plat, which meet the preliminary plat requirements outlined in the Subdivision Ordinance Section 10-2-23. Depending upon the type of major subdivision that one is hoping to perform, the plat may need to be prepared by a certified licensed engineer or surveyor.
- Review. Since preliminary plats must be reviewed by the Planning Commission, the length of time it takes to receive approval of this type of subdivision depends upon when one submits an application. Meeting Dates and Application Deadlines. Following a staff review, Planning Commission will make a voting recommendation to City Council on whether the variance should be approved.
- Approval. City Council will then review the Planning Commission's recommendation (usually the month following the Planning Commission meeting), at which time it will vote to approve or deny the request. Once the preliminary plat is approved by City Council, a final plat must be submitted to the Community Development Department, where the timeline and process is similar to a minor subdivision process as described above for Minor Subdivisions.
To view additional information regarding variances to the Subdivision Ordinance see Section 10-2-2 of the City Code.