Planning and Zoning*A*Syst. #10: Subdivision and Land Splitting Reviews (E3105)

Subdivision and Land Splitting Reviews (E-3105) provides a review of the administrative structure for handling land divisions, subdivisions or plats, site-condominiums, lot splits, and certified plats: pre application meetings with the developer, etc.

Chapter 1: Introduction

The Community Planning and Zoning Audit is a comprehensive assessment of local government planning and zoning in Michigan. It covers basic topics and practices that members of every local planning and zoning entity should understand and should be doing. Each chapter of the Community Planning and Zoning Audit contains key points in the format of questions, checklists, and tables to assess your community’s land use planning and zoning, including the adoption and amendment process, day-to-day administration and record keeping, and decision making about special land uses, planned unit developments, and site plan reviews.

Purpose of the Audit

The Community Planning and Zoning Audit is intended for use by local units of government in Michigan to help perform a self-evaluation of the basics of the community’s planning and zoning system. The reason for doing an assessment is to learn of shortcomings and problems before they become controversial issues. As a result of going through this booklet, local officials will be alerted to things that need “fixing” and deficiencies in the community’s files. The document helps accomplish three objectives:

1. Identify liability risks from not following proper procedures and practices, and not having adequate documentation of those procedures and practices.

2. Learn to better manage the planning and zoning administration in your community.

3. Take corrective steps to improve your planning and zoning system.

Organization and Content

This publication is one of a series of 11 Michigan State University Extension Community Planning and Zoning Audits available to walk a community through a performance audit. Topics are:

1. Basic Setup (MSU Extension bulletin number E-3051) makes sure that your planning commission and zoning board of appeals are set up properly and a system is in place to make sure the community keeps up-to-date.

2. The Plan (E-3052) reviews the process of plan and plan amendment adoption (to make sure that it was done properly) and reviews of an existing plan to determine if it needs to be updated, and reviews what should be in a plan.

3. Planning Coordination (E-3053) covers the process of coordination with neighboring government planning (review of each other’s plans); coordination with state, federal and other government agencies; coordination practices; and joint planning commissions.

4. The Zoning Ordinance (E-3054) reviews the process of zoning ordinance and zoning amendment adoption (to make sure that it was done properly) and what needs to be in the file to document that the proper steps were taken. This publication also reviews what should be in a zoning ordinance.

5. Administrative Structure (E-3055) provides a performance audit for the operation of the planning commission, zoning administrator, and zoning board of appeals. It covers office procedures, job descriptions, filing systems, bylaws, rules of procedure, compliance with the Open Meetings Act, minutes, and process for meetings and decision making.

6. Special Land Uses (E-3056) provides a review of the administrative structure for handling special use permits: pre-applications, applications, public notification, record keeping, and use of standards in making decisions.

7. Planned Unit Development (E-3057) provides a review of the administrative structure for handling planned unit development handled as a special use permit and as a zoning amendment: pre-applications, applications, public notification, record keeping, and use of standards in making special use decisions or basis in the plan for zoning amendment decisions.

8. Site Plan Review (E-3058) provides a review of the administrative structure for handling site plan reviews: applications, public notification, record keeping, and use of standards in making decisions. 9. Capital Improvement Program (E-3104) provides a review of the process of creating an annual capital improvement program (CIP).

10. Subdivision and Land Splitting Reviews (E-3105) provides a review of the administrative structure for handling land divisions, subdivisions or plats, site-condominiums, lot splits, and certified plats: pre-application meetings with the developer, public notification, plat review, record keeping, and use of standards in making decisions.

11. Capital Improvements Review (E-3106) provides a review of the process for the planning commission to review and comment on local government construction projects (which are otherwise not subject to zoning), and outlines how this review can be used as a constructive way to ensure that government-funded projects comply with the adopted plan and local ordinances.

Each of these Community Planning and Zoning Audits is available at http://web2.msue.msu.edu/bulletins/subjectsearch.cfm and http://www.msue.msu.edu/lu and f,rom your county Extension office.

How to use the Audit

The Community Planning and Zoning Audit is not difficult to complete. However, it does take time and the ability to search for and find various records in your local government. The actions taken as a result of this exercise should help reduce liability risk and improve your community’s planning and zoning program.

The Community Planning and Zoning Audit can be utilized by local units of government in a variety of ways. A community can go through this booklet as a group (e.g., the planning commission or a subcommittee) or a community can have an individual do so. The advantage of performing the assessment as a group is that reviewing the community’s documents and files in detail is a great educational experience for local officials. Alternatively, a staff person within the planning department may be able to perform the audit quicker because of having greater familiarity with how the unit or government maintains its records.

Additionally, a community can perform the Community Planning and Zoning Audit with certain chapters reviewed by various groups or individuals. For instance, the planning commission could review a few chapters of the audit while the zoning board of appeals addresses another set, and the legislative body performs the evaluations in the remaining chapters. Regardless of the approach taken, the main idea is to take the time to find out where various documents are and to make sure that proper documentation is on file. Then, where necessary, take action to correct any shortcomings.

Upon completion, if your community still has questions or wants help, please contact your county Extension office. They can contact the Michigan State University Land Use Team to provide further assistance and educational programming.

Organization and Content

The Community Planning and Zoning Audit contains the following chapters:

1. Introduction. 
2. The Plan. 
3. Smart Growth

The audit is based on Michigan Public Act 110 of 2006, as amended (the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, M.C.L. 125.3101 et seq.), Public Act 33 of 2008 (the Michigan Planning Enabling Act, M.C.L. 125.8101 et seq.), recommendations from members of the MSU Extension Land Use Team, and intergovernmental coordination and plan content “best planning practices” derived from a proposed Coordinated Planning Act developed by the Michigan Association of Planning.

The Community Planning and Zoning Audit is not designed to be a substitute for reading and understanding the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act or the Michigan Planning Enabling Act. Nor is this document a substitute for legal advice or for professional planner services. It is important to document each step of the process in planning and zoning a community. Keep detailed minutes, affidavits of publication and mailing, open meeting notices, letters of transmittal, and communications all on file so that years from now they are still available.

Defined Terms

Appeals board” means the zoning board of appeals (ZBA).

Certified” (resolution, minutes, ordinance, etc.) means the keeper of the records for the local unit of government (secretary of the planning commission or clerk of the local unit of government for the planning commission or the clerk of the municipality for the legislative body) provides an affidavit that the copy provided is a true and accurate copy of the document.

Elected official” means a member of a legislative body.

Legislative body” refers to the county board of commissioners of a county, the board of trustees of a township, the council of a city or village, or any other similar duly elected representative body of a county, township, city, or village.

Local unit of government” means a county, township, city, or village.

Municipality” means a city, village, or township.

Plan” means any plan or master plan adopted under the Michigan Planning Enabling Act or one of the three former planning acts, regardless of what it is titled.

Planning commission” means a zoning board, zoning commission,1 planning commission, or planning board.2

1On or before July 1, 2011, the duties of the zoning commission or zoning board shall be transferred to a planning commission. Thus, the zoning commission or zoning board will no longer exist (M.C.L. 125.3301(2)). 
2Starting on Sept 1, 2008, “planning boards” need to be named “planning commissions” even if a charter, ordinance, or resolution says otherwise (M.C.L. 125.3811(1)).

Chapter 2: Subdivision and Land Splitting Reviews

The purpose of this chapter is to help determine if best planning practices are being used and minimum legal requirements are being met to work with and adopt various ordinances dealing with the oversight of splitting land.

Splitting land can take many forms and can be done to a geographically small or large extent. All communities should have a system in place for review of land divisions (including bonus divisions and redivisions). All communities (except the most remote ones with little or no development pressure) should have a system in place for review of subdivisions and creation of a condominium of the surface of land (site-condominiums or site-condos).

Thus a city, village, and township should have adopted a land division ordinance, subdivision ordinance, site-condo ordinance, and lot-split ordinances. Often these are all combined into one ordinance that deals with the procedural process and design and review standards for each.

A township that is under a county zoning ordinance should also have a land division ordinance, subdivision ordinance, site-condo ordinance, and lot-split ordinances (as separate ordinances or all as one ordinance) that require compliance with the county zoning ordinance as part of the review standards. Another option would be for the township to contract with the county to make recommendations to the township concerning review. This would be done with an agreement pursuant to the Urban Cooperation Act (M.C.L. 124.501 et seq.).

Cities and villages may, in addition, have an ordinance that adopts a “certified plat” to indicate the locations and other details for future streets, parks, and public spaces in the undeveloped part of a town.

A county may have an ordinance that covers only the procedural process for countywide coordinated plat review. The county ordinance 3 would not include review standards – only the procedural process.

To conduct this review, you will need the following:

1. An individual(s) familiar with past practices and the history of land division, subdivison, site-condominiums, lot splits, certified plat activities as outlined above. 
2. A copy of your plan. 
3. A copy of the land division/subdivision/site-condominium ordinance(s). 
4. Minutes and supporting files of planning commission meetings and legislative body meetings during the period in which the ordinance(s) were adopted. 
5. A copy of the Michigan Planning Enabling Act. 
6. A copy of the Land Division Act. 
7. A copy of the Certification of City and Village Plats Act (if this is being done by a city or village). 
8. A copy of the locally adopted certified plat map and supporting documents (if this is being done by a city or village). 
9. A copy of the board of appeals minutes for cases concerning certified plats (if this is being done by a city or village).

3 Section 105(b) of the Land Division Act (M.C.L. 560.105(b)) might be read to imply that a municipality or county can adopt an ordinance (procedure and review standards) to carry out the provisions of this act. There are counties that interpret the act to grant counties that authority. A greater number of counties use an interpretation that the county’s ordinance and rule-making authority is only for standards adopted by the drain commissioner, road commission, and so on. This publication uses the latter interpretation.

Subdivision Ordinance Adoption4

Question

Affirmative (we are doing it) answer

Negative (need to correct) answer

Action to correct has been done

If this audit is being done for a city, village, or township, then go to “For City, Village, and Township” on page 6.

For a county planning commission, then go to “For a County” on page 13.

 

 

 

For City, Village, and Township

1. Is there a plan that has been properly adopted, following each of the proper steps for adoption that has specific provisions for subdivision and/or site-condominium regulations? (See Plan*A*Syst Community Planning and Zoning Audit #2: The Plan.)

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

Having a plan, on which a subdivision ordinance is based, is a best planning practice. Consideration to correct this should be a priority.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

4This subdivision ordinance adoption audit is for adopting a general law ordinance. If the subdivision provisions are adopted as part of a zoning ordinance, then see Planning and Zoning*A*Syst. #4: A Community Planning and Zoning Assessment System, Community Planning & Zoning Audit The Zoning Ordinance (MSU Bulletin E-3054).

2. A. If the city, village, or township has its own zoning ordinance, is there a file copy of the municipal planning commission’s draft of a subdivision ordinance or rules governing 5 the subdivision of land?

OR B. If a township subject to county zoning pursuant to the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, is there on file a draft subdivision ordinance or rules recommended by the county planning commission and adopted by the municipality governing the subdivision of land? (M.C.L. 125.3871(1)), M.C.L. 125.3101 et seq., M.C.L. 124.501 et seq., and M.C.L. 124.531 et seq.)

OR C. If a city or village subject to county zoning pursuant to the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act and a contract under the Urban Cooperation Act of 1967, or 1967 (Ex Sess) P.A. 8, is there on file a draft subdivision ordinance or rules recommended by the county planning commission and adopted by the municipality governing the subdivision of land? (M.C.L. 125.3871(1)), M.C.L. 125.3101 et seq., M.C.L. 124.501 et seq., and M.C.L. 124.531 et seq.)

AND D. Is there on file a draft subdivision ordinance prepared by the county planning commission governing the process of subdivision reviews? (M.C.L. 125.3209 and M.C.L. 125.3871(1))

Yes

(to the appropriate question(s) to the left: A and D, B and D, or C and D). Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is required by the Michigan Planning Enabling Act. Which planning commission starts the process is important. See your attorney for advice on how to correct this problem. (Question 2.D. is considered a best practice and would be optional.)

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

5“Subdivision ordinance” as used here means that ordinance adopted pursuant to the Michigan Land Division Act (P.A. 288 of 1967, as amended, M.C.L. 560.101 et seq.). Many communities also incorporate land division provisions in the subdivision ordinance. Many communities also incorporate site-condominium provisions in the subdivision ordinance (as part of an effort to document that subdivisions and site-condominiums are treated the same). The term “subdivision ordinance” is intended to mean any one of the possibilities explained in this footnote.

3. Is there written procedure and policy or is there a provision or provisions in the ordinance or rules for the administration and enforcement of the subdivision ordinance or rules that include the following?

1. Sample applications for division or platting of land.

2. Published rules of county and state agencies for carrying out the subdivision review requirements of the Land Division Act.

3. Policy that specifies the required contents of a certified survey and map.

4. Policy that specifies tax lien or assessment requirements as conditions of approval.

5. Policy that requires submission of title insurance.

6. Guidelines for reviewing and recording new plats and the responsibilities of parties involved.

7. Location of records.

8. Permit fees, appeals fees, special meeting fees.

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is recommended but not required. If desired, write and adopt procedure and policy for administration and enforcement.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

4. Has there been a critique or informal review by a third party, such as a county planning office (if it provides such service), MSU Extension Land Use Team member, or a professional planner; and (strongly recommended) review by an attorney?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is recommended but not required. If desired, have such a review conducted.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

5. Is there a file copy of the minutes of the planning commission’s public hearing on the proposed subdivision ordinance or rules? (M.C.L. 125.3871(3))

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

The hearing and record are required by the Michigan Planning Enabling Act. Adopt the ordinance/rules over again, or see your government’s attorney for advice on how to correct this problem.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

6. Is there a file copy of the notice of the public hearing that includes the time and place of the public hearing? (M.C.L. 125.3871(3))

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

The notice and hearing are required by the Michigan Planning Enabling Act. Adopt the ordinance/rules over again, or see your government’s attorney for advice on how to correct this problem.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

7. Does the file document that the notice was given not less than 15 days before the hearing by publication in a newspaper of general circulation within the local unit of government? (M.C.L 125.3871(3))

(Note: “General circulation” means a newspaper that has a paid subscription and does not mean a free-distribution advertiser or similar type publication.)

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is required by the Michigan Planning Enabling Act. Adopt the ordinance/rules over again, or see your government’s attorney for advice on how to correct this problem.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

8. Does the file contain a copy of the planning commission’s response to the comments received at the public hearing that: Changes the proposed ordinance or rules as a result of the comments made at the hearing? OR Prepares a preponderance of reasons why the proposed ordinance or rules should not be changed as a result of the comments made at the hearing?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

These records are recommended to be kept if it is desired to have a review of public comments conducted.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

9. Is a copy of the planning commission’s adopted resolution recommending that the legislative body adopt the subdivision ordinance or rules, or not adopt the subdivision ordinance or rules, on file or in the minutes? (M.C.L 125.3871(1)).

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

Adopting the resolution and having a copy on file is required by the Michigan Planning Enabling Act. Adopt the ordinance/rules over again, or see your government’s attorney for advice on how to correct this problem.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

10. Is there a file copy of a letter of transmittal from the planning commission to the legislative body for the proposed subdivision ordinance or rules? (M.C.L. 125.3871(1)).

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is recommended but not required. If desired, start this practice.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

11. Do the minutes reflect that the legislative body reviewed the proposed subdivision ordinance or rules, and if the legislative body considered changes, additions or amendments to the proposed subdivision ordinance or rules, do the minutes indicate what the changes, etc., were?

Yes or N/A

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is required by law if it happened (Open Meetings Act). See your government’s attorney for advice on how to correct this problem.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

12. Do the minutes reflect if the legislative body may have referred the proposed ordinance back to the planning commission for consideration and comment within the legislative body’s specified period of time?

Yes or N/A

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is required by law if it happened (Open Meetings Act). See your government’s attorney for advice on how to correct this problem.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

13. Does the file or minutes document following any other policy, charter provisions, or requirements of statute that require additional steps to be taken before an ordinance can be adopted as having been done? (Any step or steps should be inserted here.)

Yes or N/A

Good. Go to the next question.

No

If following other policy, charter provisions, or other statutes is required by law, it should be done. Adopt the ordinance/rules over again, or see your government’s attorney for advice on how to correct this problem.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

14. Do the minutes reflect that the legislative body voted on the adoption of the proposed ordinance or rules, with or without amendments? (The vote to adopt is done with a majority vote of the members of the legislative body. The effective date of the subdivision ordinance or rules governing the subdivision of land should be in the motion of adoption.)

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is required by the Open Meetings Act. Adopt the ordinance/rules over again, or see your government’s attorney for advice on how to correct this problem

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

15. Is a copy of the ordinance or rules, amendments, and supplements on file with the local unit of government’s clerk and, if it is a township ordinance or rules, is a copy also filed with the county clerk? If required, has a notice of adoption or the ordinance been published?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is required by law (see the respective statute listing duties of the municipal clerk). Adopt the ordinance/rules over again, or see your government’s attorney for advice on how to correct this problem.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

16. Once the ordinance has taken effect, do the minutes of the legislative body reflect adoption of procedure and policy (or that a provision or provisions exist in the ordinance or rules) for the administration and enforcement of the subdivision ordinance or rules? (See question #3, above.)

OR Are the bylaws of the planning commission amended so they cover details on the process for reviewing, holding hearings on, conducting site plan review of, and other matters concerning the administration of the adopted subdivision ordinance or rules?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is recommended but not required. If desired, write and adopt procedure and policy for administration and enforcement.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

17. Does the planning commission periodically prepare a report on the operations of the subdivision ordinance or rules, recommendations for amendments, and other matters concerning subdivisions for the legislative body? (§308(2), M.C.L. 125.3308(2)).

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is required by the Michigan Planning Enabling Act. Start the practice of doing so from this point forward.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

18. Do you have on file an updated or annotated copy of the entire subdivision ordinance that shows the amendment changes, etc., within its text?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is a recommended best practice but not required. If desired, start the practice of doing so from this point forward.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

For a County6

6 This subdivision ordinance adoption audit is for adopting a general law ordinance. If the subdivision provisions are adopted as part of a zoning ordinance, then see Planning and Zoning*A*Syst. #4: A Community Planning and Zoning Assessment System: Community Planning & Zoning Audit The Zoning Ordinance (MSU Bulletin E-3054).

1. Is there a plan that has been properly adopted, following each of the proper steps for adoption that has specific provisions on subdivision and/or site-condominium regulations? (See Plan*A*Syst Community Planning and Zoning Audit #2: The Plan.)

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

A subdivision ordinance based on a plan is a best planning practice. Consideration to correct this should be a priority.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

2. If there is not county zoning, or if there is county zoning but there are areas of the county not subject to county zoning, is there on file a draft subdivision ordinance or rules covering a streamlined review process, such as review by a county coordinating committee of proposed subdivisions and site-condominiums (M.C.L. 125.3209 and M.C.L. 125.3871(1))?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

A county ordinance creating streamlined review is a best planning practice.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

3. Does the content of the county subdivision ordinance contain only the procedural process for coordinated review of subdivisions and site-condominiums, and not any subdivision design standards?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

A county in which county zoning does not have jurisdiction may not have subdivision design regulation authority. See your attorney for advice on how to correct this problem or if it needs to be corrected.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

4. Is there written procedure and policy (or a provision or provisions in the ordinance or rules) for the administration of the subdivision review process? The following should be included:

1. Sample applications for division or platting of land.

2. Policy that specifies the required contents of a certified survey and map.

3. Guidelines for reviewing and recording new plats and the responsibilities of parties involved.

4. Location of records.

5. Permit fees, appeals fees, special meeting fees

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is recommended but not required. If desired, write and adopt procedure and policy for administration and enforcement.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

5. Has there been a critique or informal review by a third party such as an MSU Extension Land Use Team member or a professional planner; and (strongly recommended) review by an attorney?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is recommended but not required. If desired, have such a review conducted.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

6. Is there a file copy of the minutes of the county planning commission’s public hearing on the proposed subdivision review procedure ordinance?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

The hearing and having a copy of the minutes are required by the Michigan Planning Enabling Act. Adopt the ordinance/rules over again, or see your government’s attorney for advice on how to correct this problem.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

7. Is there a file copy of the notice of the public hearing that includes the time and place of the public hearing?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

The hearing and having a copy of the notice are required by the Michigan Planning Enabling Act. Adopt the ordinance/rules over again, or see your government’s attorney for advice on how to correct this problem.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

8. Does the file document that notice was given not less than 15 days before the hearing by publication in a newspaper of general circulation within the local unit of government? (M.C.L 125.3871(3)) (Note: “General circulation” means a newspaper that has a paid subscription, not a free-distribution advertiser or similar type publication.)

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

Having given proper notice and documenting that was done are required by the Michigan Planning Enabling Act. Adopt the ordinance/rules over again, or see your government’s attorney for advice on how to correct this problem.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

9. Does the file contain a copy of the county planning commission’s response to the comments received at the public hearing that: Changes the proposed ordinance as a result of the comments made at the hearing?

OR Prepares a preponderance of reasons why the proposed ordinance should not be changed as a result of the comments made at the hearing?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is recommended but not required.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

10. Is a copy of the county planning commission’s adopted resolution or motion recommending that the county board of commissioners adopt the subdivision review procedure ordinance or not adopt the subdivision review procedure ordinance on file or in the minutes? (M.C.L 125.3871(1)).

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

The adoption and minutes or resolution documenting that are required by the Michigan Planning Enabling Act. Adopt the ordinance/rules over again, or see your government’s attorney for advice on how to correct this problem.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

11. Is there a file copy of a letter of transmittal from the county planning commission to the county board for the proposed subdivision review procedure ordinance?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is recommended but not required. If desired, start this practice.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

12. Do the minutes reflect that the county board reviewed the proposed subdivision review procedure ordinance? And, if the county board considered changes, additions, or amendments to the proposed subdivision review procedure ordinance, are the changes, etc., reflected in the minutes?

Yes or N/A

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is required by law if it happened (Open Meetings Act). See your government’s attorney for advice on how to correct this problem.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

13. Do the minutes reflect if the county board may have referred the proposed ordinance back to the county planning commission for consideration and comment within the legislative body’s specified period of time?

Yes or N/A

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is required by law if it happened (Open Meetings Act). See your government’s attorney for advice on how to correct this problem.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

14. Does the file or minutes document that any other policy, charter provisions, or statutes that require additional steps be taken before an ordinance can be adopted were followed? (Any step or steps should be inserted here.)

Yes or N/A

Good. Go to the next question.

No

If these steps are required by law, they should be done. Adopt the ordinance/rules over again, or see your government’s attorney for advice on how to correct this problem.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

15. Do the minutes reflect that the county board voted on the adoption of the proposed subdivision review procedure ordinance, with or without amendments? (The vote to adopt is done with a majority vote of the members of the legislative body. The effective date of the subdivision ordinance or rules governing the subdivision of land should be in the motion of adoption.)

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is required by law. Adopt the ordinance/rules over again, or see your government’s attorney for advice on how to correct this problem

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

16. Is a copy of the subdivision review procedure ordinance, amendments and supplements on file with the county clerk?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is required by law (see the respective statute listing duties of the county clerk). Adopt the ordinance/rules over again including filing the adopted ordinance with the clerk, or see your government’s attorney for advice on how to correct this problem.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

17. Once the subdivision review procedure ordinance has taken effect, do the minutes of the county board reflect adoption of procedure and policy (if not a part of the ordinance) for the administration and enforcement of the subdivision review procedure ordinance? (See question 4, above.)

OR Are the bylaws of the county planning commission amended so they cover details on the process for reviewing, holding hearings on, conducting site plan review of, and other matters concerning the administration of the adopted subdivision review procedure ordinance?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is recommended but not required. If desired, write and adopt procedure and policy for administration and enforcement. If done, documentation in the minutes that it was done is necessary.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

18. Does the planning commission periodically prepare a report on the operations of the subdivision review procedure ordinance, recommendations for amendments, and other matters concerning subdivisions for the legislative body? (§308(2), M.C.L. 125.3308(2)).

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is required by the Michigan Planning Enabling Act. Start the practice of doing so from this point forward.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

19. Do you have on file an updated or annotated copy of the entire subdivision review procedure ordinance that shows the amendment changes, etc., within its text?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is a recommended best practice but not required. If desired, start the practice of doing so from this point forward.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

 

Content of a Subdivision Ordinance

Question

Affirmative (we are doing it) answer

Negative (need to correct) answer

Action to correct has been done

1. Has consideration been given to adopting one comprehensive set of standards (with one or multiple ordinances making reference to the standards) for review of subdivisions, land divisions (including bonus divisions, redivisions), and condominiumization of land (“site-condos”)?

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

This is a recommended best practice but not required. If desired, start the practice of doing so from this point forward. Consult your municipal attorney before proceeding with this.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

2. Using the table below, “Subdivision Ordinance Content,” determine if your local unit of government’s ordinance includes the appropriate provisions.

Yes

Good. Go to the next question.

No

Depending on the content, this is a recommended best practice or a requirement. As appropriate, amend the ordinance/rules to add the missing elements.

Check this box:

To indicate this is an improvement that needs to be done.

Check this box:

To indicate when improvement is done.

 

Subdivision Ordinance Content

Using the table below, review your subdivision/site-condominium ordinance and write in each column where in the ordinance the material is found.

On the basis of which rows in the table below have page numbers in them and which ones are left blank, you can construct a list of what has been done and what has not been done. A general strategy each time a community updates its subdivision ordinance is to try to assess what items are needed in the ordinance and which are not applicable for your community. Over time, the ordinance will become more substantial as the community grows and need for more exists. Note that there is a point at which a community does not need a more substantial subdivision ordinance (such as a small, rural, or not complex community). This is a judgment call that should be reassessed each time the community updates or replaces its subdivision ordinance.

Parts of a typical subdivision/site-condominium/land division ordinance. (The article numbers shown here are examples; your ordinance may use a different numbering system or may have items in a different order. Article numbers not used here are skipped to leave room to insert future articles. See material on ordinance codification at http://www.msue.msu.edu/lu)

The page or section where it is found in our ordinance

Need to add to our ordinance

For a city, village, or township

For a county

Not applicable for our community

ARTICLES 1-9 for introductory material for this ordinance

ARTICLE 1 for basic legal clauses such as title, citation, purposes, legal basis, effective date, explanation of scope, and codification

ARTICLE 5 for definitions of words and uses used in this ordinance

 

 

Needs to be in all subdivision ordinances

Needs to be in all subdivision ordinances

ARTICLES 10-19 for enforcement and penalties

 

 

 

Not applicable

ARTICLES 20-29 for land division review process

ARTICLE 20 for land division review process

ARTICLE 21 for land division review standards (parcel size, width:depth, access, width, number of divisions)

ARTICLE 22 for property transfer criteria to qualify (purpose [trespass or setback adjustment, nonconforming correction]; limit on proportionate size of transfer, etc.)

 

 

Needs to be in all subdivision ordinances

Not applicable

ARTICLES 30-39 for subdivision and site-condominiums

ARTICLE 30 for subdivision review process and procedure (including coordinated review)

Section 3001 for preapplication meeting and sketch review

Section 3010 for preliminary plats/draft master deeds

Section 3011 for content of preliminary plat/master deeds applications (plan preparation, plan standards)

Section 3020 for preliminary plat review process (coordinated review)

Section 3022 for final approval of preliminary plats/master deed (planning commission and legislative body action)

Section 3030 for performance security requirements

Section 3040 for construction inspections

Section 3050 for approval of final plats/final master deed

 

 

 

 

ARTICLE 40-40 for splitting lots in existing subdivisions

ARTICLE 40 for review of splitting lots in existing subdivisions

ARTICLE 41 for splitting lots in existing subdivisions standards

 

 

 

Not applicable

 

 

ARTICLES 50-59

ARTICLE 50 for fees (plan review, construction inspection[s], final approval)

ARTICLE 51 for enforcement and penalties

 

 

 

Not applicable

 

 

ARTICLES 60-89 for design standards

ARTICLES 60-69 for land division standards (parcel size, width:depth, access, width, number of divisions)

ARTICLES 70-79 for standards for splitting lots in an existing subdivision

ARTICLES 80-89 for subdivision and site-condominium standards

Section 8001-8099 for streets, right-of-way, and alley design standards

Section 8100-8199 for sidewalk, crosswalk, and pedestrian standards

 

 

 

Not applicable

 

 

Section 8200-8299 for interconnectivity standards (between current and adjacent future developments)

 

 

Not applicable for township

 

ARTICLE 90 for street naming and addressing

 

 

 

 

ARTICLES 96-99 for ordinance administration

ARTICLE 96 for exceptions (variances) ARTICLE 98 for ordinance amendment, validity, enforcement, and penalties

 

 

Needs to be in all subdivision ordinances

Needs to be in all subdivision ordinances

 

To read more about this topic, please go to the PDF provided.

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