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Subdivision and Land Division

Subdivision and land division guidelines can be found in Chapter 54-Subdivisions, of the Code of the County of Alleghany, Virginia. It is recommended that the Subdivision regulations be reviewed in detail prior to any division of land and a meeting with the Subdivision Agent be held to discuss proposed divisions in their preliminary state.  The Subdivision regulations state that no person shall divide or subdivide or cause a subdivision to be made by deed or map on any tract of land, which is located within the boundaries of the County, except in conformity with the land division regulations of the County.  No plats, division of land, or subdivision plats shall be recorded in the Clerk’s Office unless and until it has been submitted to, approved, and certified by the Subdivision Agent for the County.

A completed Land Division Application with supporting documentation and review fee shall be submitted to the Subdivision Agent for review and approval prior to recordation in the Clerk’s Office.  In certain instances, a Traffic Impact Analysis will be required and a compliance form will need to be turned in with your application.  Land divisions that require the approval of the Alleghany County Planning Commission will be forwarded to the Planning Commission once a completed application and review fee are submitted to the Zoning Office.  The Commission at that time will approve or deny the division.

Questions regarding land divisions or subdivisions can be directed to the County Planner or Subdivision Agent in the Public Works Department at (540) 863-6650, 9212 Winterberry Avenue, Suite A, Covington, VA  24426 or by e-mail at su.av1495749683.ynah1495749683gella1495749683.oc@y1495749683eldud1495749683m1495749683.

The types of land divisions are as follows:

Major Division (0 to 3 acres):  The division of a lot or parcel of land into three or more parcels all of which contain less than three acres.  These divisions are to comply with all applicable sections of these regulations.  Major divisions shall have public water and sewer where available or approval from the health official for onsite septic systems for each proposed lot.  These divisions shall have state maintained streets.  Minimum lot areas shall comply with the zoning regulations.

Minor Division (over 5 acres):  The division of a lot or parcel of land into at least three parcels all of which contain five or more acres (which excludes rights-of-way for ingress and egress) and each newly created parcel shall front on and have direct access to a perpetual nonexclusive right-of-way for ingress and egress of at least 50 feet in width, or front on and have direct access to an existing state maintained street.  Minor divisions carry an exempt status and are not required to have state maintained roads/streets.  Review and approval from the health official for the location of an on-site septic system for each lot of the proposed division is required.

Large Lot Division (3.1 to 5.0 acres):  The division of land into three or more lots, with each lot containing at least three acres and no more than five acres (which shall exclude rights-of-way for ingress and egress) and where each lot fronts on and has direct access to a perpetual nonexclusive right-of-way for ingress and egress of at least 50 feet in width to be dedicated to the public for acceptance into the state highway system; or fronts on and has direct access to an existing state maintained street.  These divisions are to comply with all applicable sections of these regulations.  Large lot divisions are required to have state maintained streets, and public water and sewer or approval from the health official for the location of an onsite septic system for each lot of the proposed division.

Family Division:  The division of a lot or parcel of land for the purpose of sale or gift to a member of the subdivider’s immediate family.  Immediate family is defined as any person who is a natural or legally defined offspring, spouse, sibling, grandchild, grandparent, parent, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew of the owner.  These divisions hold an exempt status and are not required to comply with all sections of the subdivision regulations.  Any new roads or right-of-ways created by a family division need to be at least 20 feet in width.  These roads or rights-of-way can be designated as being private as long as compliance with Section 54-32 is met.  Health Department approval is not required for this division.  Minimum lot sizes shall comply with the zoning regulations.

Two Lot Divisions:  The division of one parcel of land into two that does not otherwise fall within the definitions of other types of divisions, provided that each lot has a right-of-way for ingress and egress of at least 20 feet.  These divisions hold an exempt status and are not required to comply with all sections of the subdivision regulations.  Newly established roads or rights-of-way created by this division may be private as long as compliance with Section 54-32 is met.  Health Department approval is not required for this division.  Minimum lot sizes shall comply with the zoning regulations.

Boundary Adjustment:  The adjustment of boundary lines of any two lots or parcels that are not within a division previously approved by the Planning Commission, are proposed to be relocated or altered without the creation of any additional lots or parcels, and where all resulting lots meet all applicable requirements of the zoning and subdivision ordinances; or where the original lots are nonconforming, but are not made more nonconforming by the adjustment.  These divisions can be approved administratively provided it meets certain criteria as outlined in the subdivision ordinance.

Agricultural Division: Division of a parcel that is a bona fide division or portion of agricultural land for agricultural purposes, if the parcel created is ten acres or more, which excludes rights-of-ways for ingress and egress.

Eminent Domain Division: Division of any parcel occasioned by an exercise of eminent domain by any public agency.

Exemptions:  Divisions that hold an exempt status are divisions that are exempt from the requirements of Article V and Section 54-183 of Article VI of the subdivision regulations, unless indicated otherwise.These divisions may be approved by the County Subdivision Agent without Planning Commission approval if (i) no new streets or roads are required, (ii) all parcels or lots front on and have direct access to an existing state maintained street, and (iii) the proposed subdivision is not proposed with the intent of circumventing this chapter. Filing of a proposed plat for a subdivision for land not zoned appropriately for such use shall require approval to an appropriate zoning district prior to approval of the subdivision.

Minimum Plat Requirements for Exempt Divisions: A certificate shall be included on the plat stating that it meets the conditions applicable for such division and shall have sufficient detail and information to show compliance with all requirements for exempt division.  Plats shall contain at a minimum:  location, lot size and dimensions at an appropriate scale, owner’s name, location of existing and proposed rights-of-way and easements, location of waterways and flood information, and a signature line for the agent, and where applicable a signature line for the health official.

Subdivisions:  Subdivisions that are not “exempt” are required to comply with all the subdivision regulations as outlined in Chapter 54-Subdivision of the Code of the County of Alleghany, Virginia. Subdivisions are defined by the regulations as any division of a lot, tract or parcel of land into lots, plots, sites, or other division of land, for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of sale or building development.  Individuals or developers planning a subdivision are strongly encouraged to acquire a copy of the regulations and review them to ensure compliance with the subdivision requirements.

Plat Requirements for Subdivisions:  Every subdivision plat shall be prepared by a surveyor, duly licensed by the Commonwealth, who shall endorse upon each plat a certificate signed by them setting forth the source of the description of the land subdivided. When the plat is of land acquired from more than one source, the outlines of the several tracts shall be indicated upon such plat, within an insert block or by means of a dotted boundary line upon the plat.  Plats shall also contain at a minimum, an owner’s statement; lot/parcel information such as size, shape, and location; location and width of proposed roads or streets; location of water and sewer lines or well and septic approval information; and the location of any easements.  Developers are strongly encouraged to review the County regulations prior to initiating any development plans for a subdivision.  Detailed requirements for subdivisions are addressed in Chapter 54-Subdivision of the County Code.

Resubdivision of land:  Resubdivision is any change in a map of an approved or recorded subdivision plat, if such change affects any street layout shown on such map or area reserved thereon for public use or any lot line or if it affects any map or plan legally recorded prior to November 1, 1988, such parcel shall be approved by the agent by the same procedure rules and regulations as for a subdivision.

Resubdivisions require the approval of the Alleghany County Planning Commission.  Once a completed application with the appropriate supporting documentation and review fee are submitted to the zoning office, the information will be forwarded to the Commission for their consideration.  The Commission at that time will approve or deny the division.

 

Vacation of plats:  Any subdivision plat or part thereof, that is recorded, or when any lot has been sold, the plat or part thereof may be vacated in accordance with state law.  Individuals wishing to vacate plats or parts of plats are encouraged to contact legal counsel to assist in this process.  Vacation of plats requires action by the Alleghany County Board of Supervisors.  A completed application and feeshall be filed with the County before consideration can be made.

Vacation Application  

 

Section 54-32 – Private Roads and Streets:  In divisions where private roads or streets are proposed and allowed the following statement shall appear on the face of the plat.

 

“The streets or roads in this division do not meet state highway standards and are not intended for inclusion in the system of state highways.  Roads or streets will not be maintained by the Department of  Transportation or the county and are not eligible for rural addition  funds or any other funds appropriated by the General Assembly and allocated by the Commonwealth Transportation Board.  The developer and/or property owners will be responsible to provide the full cost of building the road to the standard required for acceptance into the state secondary system.  It shall be the responsibility of the developer and/or property owners to maintain the private road(s) or street(s) shown on this plat.”

Grantors of any lots to which such statement applies must hereafter include the statement on each plat and in each deed of conveyance thereof.  The Board of Supervisors shall approve the names of private roads and the county shall assign house numbers for emergency purposes.

 

Variances:  Written petitions for a variance or departure from any of the sections of the subdivision regulations may be requested by the developer at the time a plat is submitted for review.  The Alleghany County Planning Commission grants variances to the subdivision regulations where just cause is shown that the regulations create an unnecessary hardship due to topography or other conditions particular to the site.  Justification of the variance is the responsibility of the petitioner.

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