Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jan 7, 2021

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A subdivision is a parcel of land divided from a larger area. Its purpose is to split a large tract of land into smaller ones that are easier to develop and can be developed independently of one another to increase growth and maximize the use of space. This tool also speeds up the zoning process and selling off of the land, resulting in a fully completed area, though one that is divided into various smaller areas.

How is a subdivision created?

Creating a subdivision usually begins with the developer applying for a zoning permit in the area. City approval and issuance of a permit is based on whether or not the particular land can be developed, and how it may be zoned. Zoning is either for single or multi-family residences, depending on the needs of the area and the request of the developer. Once the permit is obtained, the area will be built up, often at a rapid speed. Subdivisions typically surround a city center most often zoned for business and commercial use. As the city grows, subdivisions can spread in every direction, providing residential living areas that are within a short distance from the downtown without being directly in it. Many rural areas quickly get swallowed up into subdivision developments as the city expands, and local authorities often attempt to keep this type of growth from destroying the local area. However, in most cases the development of subdivisions occurs at a rapid pace, driven by a need for cheap, fast housing. Thus, subdivision growth is often considered an unfortunate side effect of the growth of a community.

If you own a parcel of land and wish to sell it more easily, you may be interested in the process of subdividing that land. If such is the case, it is advisable to consult an attorney to help you obtain the proper permissions from your municipality and zoning board to subdivide and sell the land.