Chapter 16.01


16.01.010    General processing overview for subdivision projects.

16.01.010 General processing overview for subdivision projects.

A. Why Regulate Subdivisions? Property lines, parks and open spaces establish a community’s long-term development pattern, and distinguish the physical identity of one community from another. In California, local governments are required by law (the Subdivision Map Act) to adopt an ordinance regulating subdivisions within that agency’s jurisdiction. Subdivision regulations help determine who will pay for the public improvements needed to accommodate growth and help ensure the creation and preservation of adequate land records. They also protect consumers and the environment by establishing design and improvement standards for lot size, building spacing, drainage, access, resource buffer zones, provision of utilities, and solar access.

B. General Summary of San Luis Obispo’s Review Procedures. A summary of the city’s procedure for handling subdivision projects is included below. It provides an overview of the steps typically involved in subdividing a parcel of land:

1. The applicant submits an initial application, tentative map and processing fees to the community development department. The Subdivision Map Act requires most subdivision maps to be prepared by a licensed surveyor or registered civil engineer authorized to practice land survey activities.

2. City staff, and sometimes staff from other agencies, review the application for completeness. Staff will notify the applicant when the project is ready for processing or that additional information is necessary.

3. For projects that are subject to environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a separate application and fee is required and staff will prepare an initial study to identify potential environmental impacts and recommended mitigation. If the project can be modified to avoid significant impacts, a negative declaration (ND), or mitigated negative declaration (MND) is prepared. If significant negative impacts cannot be avoided by modifying the project or adding mitigation measures as conditions of subdivision approval, an environmental impact report (EIR) must be prepared.

4. Once applications are complete and CEQA requirements for environmental review, if any, have been met, staff evaluates the project to see if it meets the design and improvement standards specified by these regulations and prepares a report with a recommendation for project approval or denial. The project is then scheduled for action. Depending on the type of subdivision, the community development director, the planning commission, or the city council will review the subdivision. The subdivision proposal may be approved, denied, or approved subject to conditions. Conditions may include (but are not limited to) dedication of land, physical improvements to the site or to an off-site location, street improvements, and provision of utilities.

5. If approved, the applicant will need to file a final or parcel map (or other documents and exhibits for recordation) to the public works department. Maps and documents are recorded with the county recorder’s office once all required subdivision improvements have been completed or bonded for, and all conditions of project approval have been met or ensured. Time limits for submitting required material or completing conditions of approval are discussed in Section 16.10.050. Recordation of the map is usually the final process that establishes the subdivision.

Note: Application requirements are described in detail in Chapters 16.10 through 16.17. (Ord. 1490 § 3 (part), 2006)