Chapter 17.05


17.05.010    Purpose of title.

17.05.020    Definitions and construction generally.

17.05.030    Specific definitions.

17.05.040    Compliance with title.

17.05.050    Penalty for violation of title.

17.05.060    Relationship of title to private easements, covenants, etc.

17.05.070    Variances from title provisions.

17.05.080    Fees.

17.05.010 Purpose of title.

The purpose of this title is to establish certain subdivision standards and procedures for the city. (Code 1964, § 26-1; Code 1985, § 27-1).

17.05.020 Definitions and construction generally.

For the purpose of this title, certain words and terms used herein shall be interpreted or defined as follows: Words used in the present tense include the future, words in the singular number include the plural, and the plural the singular, unless the natural construction of the word indicates otherwise; the word “lot” includes the word “parcel”; and the word “shall” is mandatory and not directory; the word “approve” shall be considered to be followed by the words “or disapproved”; any reference to this title includes all ordinances amending or supplementing the same; all distances and areas refer to measurement in a horizontal plane. (Code 1964, § 26-2; Code 1985, § 27-2).

17.05.030 Specific definitions.

For the purposes of this title, the following words and terms shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:

“Alley” shall mean a permanent service way providing a secondary means of access to abutting properties.

“Building setback” shall mean the distance that a building must be set back from the lot or boundary line.

“Commission” shall mean the official planning commission of the city.*

“Corner lot” shall mean a lot abutting upon two or more streets at their intersection; provided, that the shortest side fronting upon a street shall be considered the front of the lot and the longest side fronting upon a street shall be considered the side of the lot.

“Cul-de-sac” shall mean a street with only one outlet and having an appropriate turnaround for a safe and convenient reverse traffic movement.

“Depth of lot” shall mean the mean horizontal distance between the front and rear lot lines.

“Developer” shall mean an owner of property being subdivided, whether or not represented by an agent.

“Digital copy” shall mean an electronic version in a format that is compatible with the city engineering department’s current drafting software. Such digital copy shall be for internal use by the city only.

“Easement” shall mean a grant by a property owner of the use of land for a specific purpose or purposes.

“Engineer” shall mean an engineer licensed and certified by the state and the city.

“Health department” shall mean the Staunton-Augusta County health department.

“Health officer” shall mean the health director or sanitarian for the city.

“Interior lot” shall mean a lot other than a corner lot.

“Jurisdiction” shall mean the area or territory subject to the legislative control of the city council.

“Lot” shall mean a numbered and recorded portion of a subdivision intended for transfer of ownership or for building development for a single building and its accessory building.

“Major street” shall mean a heavily traveled thoroughfare or highway that carries a large volume of through traffic.

“Minor subdivision” means any subdivision of land which does not involve the creation or extension of public streets, alleys, central water systems or central sewer systems, and which is:

(1) A division of a lot or parcel of land existing on January 1st of a year into no more than three lots, parcels, or tracts in that same calendar year for any purpose; or

(2) A division which is solely for the purpose of a voluntary or judicial partition of land among co-owners where each owner’s partial interest was created by a devise or intestate succession from a deceased landowner, and where no more than one lot, parcel, or tract is conveyed to each owner. An assignee or successor in interest of a co-owner’s entire interest shall be permitted to participate in the partition as a separate co-owner; or

(3) A division which is solely for the purpose of a sale or transfer of a tract, lot, or parcel of land to the owner or owners of a contiguous tract, lot, or parcel of land for the purpose of adjusting the boundary lines or adding land area to an existing tract, with each of the resulting, combined tracts to be treated as one tract; or

(4) A revision of a lot line on existing parcel.

“Other street” shall mean a street that is used primarily as a means of public access to the abutting properties and shall include the terms minor and neighborhood streets.

Plat. When used as a noun, the word “plat” shall mean a map of a tract or parcel of land which is to be or which has been subdivided, and it shall include the words map, plan, plot, replat or replot. When used as a verb, the word “plat” is synonymous with the word “subdivide.”

“Property” shall mean any tract, lot, parcel, or several of the same, collected together for the purpose of subdividing.

“Street” shall mean the principal means of access to abutting properties.

“Street width” shall mean the total width of the strip of land dedicated or reserved for public travel, including roadway, curbs, gutters, sidewalks and planting strips.

“Subdivider” shall mean an individual, corporation or registered partnership owning any tract, lot or parcel of land to be subdivided, or a group of two or more persons owning any tract, lot or parcel of land to be subdivided, who have given their power of attorney to one of their group or to another individual to act on their behalf in planning, negotiating for, representing, or executing the legal requirements of the subdivision.

“Subdivision” shall mean to divide a parcel of land into three or more new lots or parcels of less than five acres each for the purpose of transfer of ownership or building development, or if a new street is involved in such division, any division of a parcel of land. The word “subdivision” shall include resubdivision and, when appropriate to the context, shall relate to the process of subdividing or to the land subdivided.

“Surveyor” shall mean a surveyor licensed and certified by the state and the city.

“Width of lot” shall mean the mean horizontal distance between the side lot lines. (Ord. 2010-08. Code 1964, § 26-3; Code 1985, § 27-3; Ord. 12-16-93).

*Cross reference – Planning commission, Chapter 2.55 SCC.

17.05.040 Compliance with title.

No person shall subdivide any tract of land that is located within the corporate limits of the city except in conformity with the provisions of this title. (Code 1964, § 26-6; Code 1985, § 27-4).

17.05.050 Penalty for violation of title.

Any person violating the provisions of this title shall be subject to a fine of not more than $100.00 for each lot or parcel of land so subdivided or transferred or sold. The description of such lot or parcel by metes and bounds in the instrument of transfer or other document used in the process of selling or transferring shall not exempt the transaction from such penalties or from the remedies herein provided. (Code 1964, § 6-5; Code 1985, § 27-5).

State law reference – Penalty for violation of subdivision ordinance, Code of Virginia, § 15.1-473.

17.05.060 Relationship of title to private easements, covenants, etc.

This title bears no relation to any private easement, covenant, agreement or restriction, nor is the responsibility of enforcing such private easement, covenant, agreement or restriction implied herein to any public official. When this title calls for more restrictive standards than are required by private contract, the provisions of this title shall control. (Code 1964, § 26-6; Code 1985, § 27-6).

17.05.070 Variances from title provisions.

Where a subdivider can show that a provision of this title would cause an unnecessary hardship if strictly adhered to, and where, because of topographical or other conditions peculiar to the site, in the opinion of the planning commission a departure may be made without destroying the intent of such provision, the council, on recommendation of the commission, may authorize a variance. Any variance thus authorized shall be entered in writing in the minutes of the council and the reason on which the departure was justified set forth. (Code 1964, § 26-4; Code 1985, § 27-7).

17.05.080 Fees.

The following fees shall be due and paid at time of application. Additional fees may be levied for the postage required for adjacent property owner notification.

Subdivision Fees

Variance to the provisions of the subdivision ordinance


Street/alley vacation application fee


Subdivision preliminary plat submittal fee

$200.00 plus $15.00 per lot

Minor subdivision submittal fee


Final plat submittal


(Ord. 2011-16; Ord. 2005-13).