Chapter 17.80
Applicability and Administration of Subdivision Regulations


17.80.010    Purpose of Article

17.80.020    Authority

17.80.030    Applicability

17.80.040    Responsibility for Administration

17.80.050    Advisory Agency

17.80.060    Authority for Subdivision Decisions

17.80.070    Type of Subdivision Approval Required

17.80.080    Applications Deemed Approved

17.80.090    Exceptions to Subdivision Standards

17.80.100    Appeals

17.80.110    Enforcement of Subdivision Regulations

17.80.010 - Purpose of Article

This Article is the City of Fort Bragg Subdivision Ordinance. These provisions are intended to supplement, and implement the Subdivision Map Act, Sections 66410 et seq. of the California Government Code (hereafter referred to as the “Map Act”). This Article is not intended to replace the Map Act, and must be used in conjunction with the Map Act in the preparation of subdivision applications, and the review, approval, and improvement of proposed subdivisions. This Article shall not govern the review and approval of coastal development permits.

17.80.020 - Authority

This Article is adopted in compliance with the Map Act as a “local ordinance,” as the term is used in the Map Act. All provisions of the Map Act and future amendments to the Map Act not incorporated into this Article shall, nevertheless, apply to all subdivision maps and proceedings under this Article.

17.80.030 - Applicability

A.    Subdivision approval required. Each subdivision of land within the coastal zone shall be authorized through the approval of a map, a coastal development permit, and any other entitlement in compliance with this Chapter.

B.    Conflicts with Map Act. In the event of any conflicts between the provisions of this Chapter and the Map Act, the Map Act shall control.

C.    Compliance with other regulations required. The approval or conditional approval of a subdivision map shall not authorize an exception or deviation from any zoning regulation in this Development Code, or as an approval to proceed with any development in violation of other applicable provisions of the Municipal Code or other applicable ordinances or regulations of the City.

D.    Coastal development permit required. A land division shall also require a coastal development permit consistent with all applicable policies of the certified Local Coastal Program and reviewed and approved in compliance with Section 17.71.045 (Coastal Development Permit).

17.80.040 - Responsibility for Administration

The Director and City Engineer are authorized and directed to administer and enforce the provisions of this Article and applicable provisions of the Map Act for subdivisions within the City, except as otherwise provided by this Article.

17.80.050 - Advisory Agency

A.    Advisory agency established. The advisory agency for subdivision review shall be the Planning Commission.

B.    Authority and duties. The advisory agency shall perform the following duties, and as further detailed in Section 17.80.060 (Authority for Subdivision Decisions).

1.    Approve, conditionally approve, or disapprove Tentative Maps;

2.    Recommend to the Council the approval, conditional approval, or disapproval of requests for modification of the City’s design and improvement standards;

3.    Recommend modifications of the requirements of this Article;

4.    Review and make recommendations concerning proposed subdivisions in adjacent cities and in the unincorporated areas of Mendocino County in compliance with the provisions of the Map Act when the advisory agency has elected to do so;

5.    Perform additional duties and exercise additional authorities as prescribed by law and by this Article.

17.80.060 - Authority for Subdivision Decisions

Table 7-1 (Subdivision Review Authority) identifies the City official or authority responsible for reviewing and making decisions on each type of subdivision application and other decision required by this Article.


Type of Subdivision Application or Decision

Procedure is in Section:

Role of Review Authority (1)


City Engineer

Planning Commission

City Council


Certificates of Compliance






Amendment to Recorded Map






Final Maps






Improvement Agreements






Improvement Plans






Improvement Security






Lot Line Adjustment






Merger and Unmerger






Parcel Map






Reversion to Acreage






Tentative Map






Waiver of Parcel Map






Coastal Development Permit








(1)    “Form” means that the review authority approves the document as to form. “Recommend” means that the review authority makes a recommendation to a higher decision-making body. “Decision” means that the review authority makes the final decision on the matter. “Appeal” means that the review authority may consider and decide upon appeals to the decision of an earlier decision-making body, in compliance with Chapter 17.92 (Appeals).

17.80.070 - Type of Subdivision Approval Required

Any subdivision of an existing parcel into two or more parcels shall require approval by the City in compliance with this Article. In general, the procedure for subdivision first requires the approval of a Tentative Map, a coastal development permit, and then the approval of a Parcel Map (for four or fewer parcels) or a Final Map (for five or more parcels) to complete the subdivision process. The Tentative Map review process is used to evaluate the compliance of the proposed subdivision with the adopted City standards, and the appropriateness of the proposed subdivision design. Parcel and Final Maps are precise engineering documents that detail the location and dimensions of all parcel boundaries in an approved subdivision and, after approval, are recorded in the office of the County Recorder.

A.    Tentative Map requirements. Map Act Section 66426 requires that any subdivision or resubdivision of land shall require the filing and approval of a Tentative Map.

B.    Parcel and Final Map requirements. A Parcel or Final Map shall be required as follows:

1.    Parcel Map. The filing and approval of a Parcel Map (Chapter 17.82) shall be required for a subdivision creating four or fewer parcels, with or without a designated remainder in compliance with Map Act Article 2, Chapter 1, except for the following subdivisions:

a.    Public agency or utility conveyances. Any conveyance of land, including a fee interest, an easement, or a license, to a governmental agency, public entity, public utility or a subsidiary of a public utility for rights-of-way, unless the Director determines based on substantial evidence that public policy necessitates a Parcel Map in an individual case;

b.    Rail right-of-way leases. Subdivisions of a portion of the operating right-of-way of a railroad corporation as defined by California Public Utilities Code Section 230, which are created by short-term leases (terminable by either party on not more than 30 days’ notice in writing); or

c.    Waived Parcel Map. A subdivision that has been granted a waiver of Parcel Map requirements in compliance with Section 17.82.030 (Waiver of Parcel Map).

2.    Final Map. The filing and approval of a Final Map (Chapter 17.82) shall be required for a subdivision of five or more parcels.

C.    Exemptions from subdivision approval requirements. The types of subdivisions identified by Map Act Sections 66411, 66412, 66412.1, 66412.2, 66412.5, and 66426.5, or other applicable Map Act provision as not being subject to the requirements of the Map Act, and/or not being considered to be divisions of land for the purposes of the Map Act, shall be exempt from the subdivision approval requirements of this Article, except for requirements to obtain a coastal development permit.

D.    Exceptions from map preparation requirements. The types of subdivisions identified by Map Act Sections 66426 and 66428, or other applicable Map Act provision as not requiring the preparation of a Tentative Map, Parcel Map, and/or a Final Map shall comply with Map Act Sections 66426 and 66428. A coastal development permit shall be required for land divisions not requiring the preparation of a Tentative Map, Parcel Map, and/or Final Map, except where the land division is brought about in connection with the purchase of such land by a public agency for public recreational use consistent with Coastal Act Section 30106.

E.    Coastal Development Permit requirements. A proposed subdivision located within the Coastal Zone shall require the approval of a Coastal Development Permit at the same time as the approval of a Tentative Map, or a Parcel Map for which no Tentative Map is required. See Section 17.71.045 for Coastal Development Permit requirements and procedures.

17.80.080 - Applications Deemed Approved

Any subdivision application deemed approved in compliance with Government Code Section 65956 or Map Act Article 2, Chapter 3 (Government Code Sections 66452 et seq.), shall be subject to all applicable provisions of the Local Coastal Program, this Development Code, and any conditions imposed by the review authority, which shall be satisfied by the subdivider before any zoning approval or Building Permit is issued. Parcel or Final Maps filed for record after their Tentative Map is deemed approved shall remain subject to all the mandatory requirements of this Article and the Map Act, including Map Act Sections 66473, 66473.5 and 66474.

17.80.090 - Exceptions to Subdivision Standards

An exception to a provision of Chapter 17.88 (Subdivision Design and Improvement Requirements) may be requested by a subdivider in compliance with this Section. An exception shall not be used to waive or modify provisions of the Map Act, or any provision of this Article that is duplicated or paraphrased from the Map Act. An exemption to Chapter 17.88 does not replace, supersede, or modify the independent requirement for a CDP approved pursuant to the otherwise applicable policies and standards of the certified LCP.

A.    Application. An application for an exception shall be submitted on forms provided by the Department together with the required filing fee. The application shall include a description of each standard and requirement for which an exception is requested, together with the reasons why the subdivider believes the exception is justified.

B.    Filing and processing. A request for an exception may be filed with the Tentative Map application to which it applies, or after approval of the Tentative Map. An exception shall be processed and acted upon in the same manner as the Tentative Map, concurrently with the Tentative Map if the exception request was filed at the same time. The approval of an exception shall not constitute approval of the Tentative Map and the approval or denial of an exception shall not extend the time limits for the expiration of the map established by Section 17.81.140 (Extensions of Time for Tentative Maps).

C.    Approval of exception. The Commission shall have the authority to approve or deny exception requests in compliance with this Section. The Commission shall not grant an exception unless all the following findings are first made:

1.    There are exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions applicable to the proposed subdivision, including size, shape, topography, location, or surroundings;

2.    The exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions are not due to any action of the subdivider subsequent to the enactment of this Article;

3.    The exception is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right possessed by other property in the vicinity and zoning district and which would otherwise be denied to the proposed subdivision;

4.    Granting the exception will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare nor injurious to the property or improvements in the vicinity and zoning district in which the property is located; and

5.    The exception will not affect the consistency of the proposed subdivision with the Local Coastal Program, General Plan or any applicable specific plan. An exception to Chapter 17.88 does not replace, supersede, or modify the independent requirement for a CDP approved pursuant to the otherwise applicable policies and standards of the certified LCP.

D.    Conditions of approval. In granting an exception, the Commission shall secure substantially the same objectives of the regulations for which the exception is requested and shall impose whatever conditions it deems necessary to protect the public health, safety, general welfare and convenience, and to mitigate any environmental impacts in compliance with CEQA.

17.80.100 - Appeals

Any interested person may appeal any decision of the Director to the Commission, and may appeal any decision of the Commission to the Council, in compliance with Chapter 17.92 (Appeals).

17.80.110 - Enforcement of Subdivision Regulations

A.    Violations. Any person who violates any provision of this Article shall be subject to the penalties specified by Map Act Division 2, Chapter 7, Article 1 and/or, where applicable, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor or infraction as specified in Section 17.80.110 (Enforcement of Subdivision Regulations).

B.    Remedies. If construction activity on property subject to a Final Map is occurring contrary to the Map Act or a requirement of the map, the City Engineer may order the activity stopped by written notice served on any person responsible for the activity, in addition to the remedies outlined in Map Act Division 2, Chapter 7, Article 2. The responsible person shall immediately stop the activity until authorized by the City Engineer to proceed. For the purposes of this Section, construction activities include, but are not limited to, grading, earth moving, and/or tree removal.