Different review and approval processes are associated with land divisions depending on the number and size of lots created. State-defined subdivisions are required to undergo state-level plat review. Local land division ordinances may require that divisions resulting in fewer than five parcels or parcels greater than one and one half acre undergo the same process or a substantially similar process. Unless a local ordinance provides otherwise, divisions that result in four or less parcels may be approved through a certified survey map.
A Plat is a map of a subdivision. A plat may be submitted for approval in two phases:
- ‘Preliminary Plat’ – shows the salient features of a subdivision necessary for preliminary approval. The map should be drawn to scale showing the location and exterior boundaries of the parcel to be divided and the approximate location of lots and other improvements.
- ‘Final Plat’ – a subdivision map prepared for recording. It should incorporate changes discussed during preliminary plat review, if applicable, and must meet detailed layout, surveying, mapping and submittal requirements described in state statutes.
Wis. Stat. § 236.10-21
Major and Minor Land Divisions
Communities use various terms to regulate and describe divisions of land. Depending on the number and size of lots created within a given period of time, they may be referred to as state-defined subdivisions, major or minor land divisions, or simply, land divisions. Two common terms are:
- Major Land Division – a division of land usually resulting in five or more parcels of a particular size; generally approved through a plat review process.
- Minor Land Division – a division of land usually resulting in four or less parcels of a particular size; usually approved through a certified survey map.