Land Division

In order to subdivide land it is essential that the design be of a quality that takes in consideration site constraints as well as the developer’s goals and objectives.

When considering land division, knowledge and information of zoning laws, ordinances, and regulations are essential; as well as awareness of scrutiny from private and public interest groups.

We at Nelms Surveying Inc endeavor to have a complete understanding of these issues in order to assist developers in their aspirations of subdividing their property.


Subdivision Map Act

The Map Act vests in the city or county the power to regulate and control the design and improvement of subdivisions within its boundaries. Gov’t Code § 66411.

Each city and county must adopt an ordinance regulating and controlling subdivisions for which the Map Act requires a tentative and final or parcel map. Gov’t Code § 66411. However, the Map Act sets forth certain mandates that must be followed for subdivision processing. Cities or Counties can impose conditions on the subdivision process when the Map Act is silent, but it cannot regulate contrary to specific provisions contained in the Map Act.

The Map Act’s Primary goals are:

  • To encourage orderly community development by providing for the regulation and control of the design and improvement of the subdivision, with a proper consideration of its relation to adjoining areas
  • To ensure that the areas within the subdivision that are dedicated for public purposes will be properly improved by the subdivider so that they will not become an undue burden on the community
  • To protect the public and individual transferees from fraud and exploitation
  • The Map Act is applied in conjunction with other state land use laws such as the general plan and the specific plan.

The Difference Between The Map Act and The Subdivided Lands Act:

  • The Map Act must be distinguished from the Subdivided Lands Act. 
  • The Map Act provides for regulation of land divisions by a city and is interpreted and enforced by the city.
  • The Subdivided Lands Act is a consumer protection statute primarily intended to ensure adequate disclosures are made.
  • The Subdivided Lands Act regulates public offerings of land in subdivisions for sale or lease and is interpreted and enforced by the California Department of Real Estate.

An excellent discussion on the differences between the two Acts is found in California Coastal Comm’n v. Quanta Inv. Corp., 113 Cal. App. 3d 579,588 (1980), where the court stated: “To avoid confusion, it is essential to bear in mind that the subdivision of real property and the sale of subdivided lands involve two separate statutes.”

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