Land Division and Subdivision Ordinances

Figure 3.3: Lot Splits

Figure 3.3: Lot Splits

Two of the local regulatory tools with the greatest potential to minimize harm in sensitive environmental areas are regulations that apply to land divisions and subdivisions. These are usually two separate ordinances that are linked to the zoning ordinance, but because the authority for them derives from a statute different from the zoning enabling acts, they are adopted as separate ordinances. The first is usually known as a land division ordinance. The second is usually called a subdivision or plat ordinance.

A land division ordinance may be adopted by a local unit of government pursuant to Section 109 of the Land Division Act, Public Act 288 of 1967, as amended (MCL 560.109). A land division ordinance regulates the creation of metes and bounds splits of a parcel of land. See Figure 3.3. A statutory formula in Section 108 specifies the maximum number of splits that are permitted from a “parent parcel” without platting. Bonus lots are permitted for shared access and preservation of open space. Minimum standards for lot size, width-to-depth ratio and relationship to access are provided by statute. All parcel splits smaller than 40 acres in size are required to be reviewed and approved locally before they can be recorded with the county register of deeds. Land divisions being created must also conform to local zoning regulations, provided those regulations are not in conflict with the land division provisions of the Land Division Act.

A subdivision ordinance is adopted by a local unit of government to regulate the creation of more splits than are permitted under the land division provisions of the Land Division Act. See Figure 3.4. Section 105 of P.A. 288 of 1967, as amended, provides authority for the adoption of local subdivision ordinances. Developers of platted subdivisions are required to put in public infrastructure such as paved streets, curb, gutter, stormwater, sewer and water pipe, unless exempted by local ordinance. Lots being created must also conform to local zoning regulations, provided those regulations are not in conflict with the platting provisions of the Land Division Act.

Figure 3.4: Platted Subdivision

Figure 3.4: Platted Subdivision