Frequently Asked Questions

What is a subdivision?

The definition of subdivision according to the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) is:

"(1) The division of any parcel of land shown as a unit or as contiguous units on the last preceding tax roll, into two or more parcels, sites, or lots, any one of which is less than five acres for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of transfer of ownership, provided, however, that the division or partition of land into parcels of more than five acres not involving any new streets or easements of access, and the sale or exchange of parcels between adjoining lot owners, where such sale or exchange does not create additional building sites, shall be exempted; or

(2) The improvement of one or more parcels of land for residential, commercial or industrial structures or groups of structures involving the division or allocation of land for the opening, widening or extension of any street or streets, except private streets serving industrial structures; the division or allocation of land as open spaces for common use by owners, occupants or lease holders or as easements for the extension and maintenance of public sewer, water, storm drainage or other public facilities."

In Hamilton County, subdivisions are classified as major or minor.

What is the purpose of subdivision regulations?

  1. To protect and provide for the public health, safety, convenience, comfort, prosperity and general welfare of the County by establishing reasonable standards of design and procedures or approval of plats and subdivisions.
  2. To secure and provide for the proper arrangement of streets or other highways in relation to existing or planned streets or highways or to the County or regional plan.
  3. To assure adequate and convenient open spaces for traffic, utilities, access of fire fighting apparatus, recreation, light, air.
  4. To avoid congestion of population and to further the orderly layout and use of land.
  5. To ensure proper legal descriptions and monumentation of subdivided land.
  6. To help safeguard against the pollution of air, streams, and ponds; to help assure the adequacy of drainage facilities; to help safeguard the water table; and to encourage the wise use and management of natural resources throughout the County.
  7. To provide the most beneficial relationship between the use of land and buildings, provide for the proper location of lot lines and building setback lines, and to encourage innovative forms of development.
  8. To insure appropriate development with regard to natural features.

What is the difference between a major and minor subdivision?

A minor subdivision, sometimes referred to as a "cut-up" or "lot split", is no more than five (5) lots subdivided from an original parcel. A minor subdivision does not involve the construction of a public improvement, such as a public street, sewer or water main extension.

A major subdivision involves more than five (5) lots and usually includes construction of public improvements. There is a different approval procedure for each type of subdivision.

What is a subdivision record plat?

A plat is a map (or survey) of the division a tract of land into two or more parcels prepared for the purpose of recording and subsequent conveyance of property, drawn in ink on Mylar, tracing cloth or other acceptable reproducible material.

A subdivision plat may include easements, rights-of-way or other "dedicated open space." A subdivision plat contains a title page with general notes, a description of sewer easement restrictions, notarized signatures of owners as to their dedication of streets, easements and other public areas, spaces for signature of the County Administrator as to acceptance of R.O.W. and a statement of approval by the Planning Commission with lines for signature and date.

For all graphic and other items pertaining to a subdivision record plat, consult the Regional Planning Commission's "Rules and Regulations for Plats and Subdivision of Land".

When do I need a record plat?

All major subdivisions require a record plat for approval by the Planning Commission and recording with the County Recorder. Once it is recorded, land transfers generally do not include a full description but are simply referenced to a lot number on the recorded subdivision plat.

Planning Commissions generally require both a preliminary plan and various engineering and improvement plans (construction drawings) prior to approving a record plat.

Do I need a preliminary plan, improvement plan or record plat for a minor subdivision?

No. A minor subdivision is simply a division of property by deed or other instrument of conveyance stamped, "approved, no plat required" by an authorized agent of the Planning Commission. However, a sketch or "other information", which may include a survey, may be required.

The agent of the Planning Commission is required to act on a minor subdivision within seven (7) working days after submission of a complete application.

What are the procedures for minor and major subdivision approvals?

In order to help minimize development planning costs, avoid misinterpretation and ensure compliance with the requirements of these Rules and Regulations, all applicants are encouraged to request a pre-application conference with the Subdivision Administrator. The details of the procedures are found in Section 5.3 of the Rules and Regulations for Subdivision of Land.

The general procedures for minor and major subdivisions are outlined below:

4.2.1 Minor Subdivision (Lot Splits).
  1. Sketch Plan review*
  2. Subdivision Administrator approval
4.2.2 Major Subdivision

Alternative I

  1. Sketch Plan review*
  2. Preliminary Subdivision Plan approval
  3. Improvement (Construction) Plans approval
  4. Final (Record) Plat approval

Alternative II

  1. Sketch Plan review*
  2. Final (Record) Plat approval

*Sketch plan review is not required but is encouraged

Alternative I is recommended for all subdivisions where public improvements will be constructed after submittal of application. See Alternative II for frontage subdivisions and other major subdivisions where all public improvements are completely built or assured.

What does it cost?

The Regional Planning Commission review fee can be found here. This fee is reviewed periodically for update. The other departments that review subdivision plans also charge a review fee.