What are subdivisions?

Subdivisions are the literal dividing of land.  In Vermont, towns can regulate subdivisions through a stand-alone bylaw or a ‘unified bylaw’ that combines subdivision and zoning.

Do towns always regulate subdivisions?

No, towns are not required to regulate subdivisions.  For those that do, they commonly exempt things like annexations (the creation of a new lot by adding two together), lot line adjustments, and the filing of a survey plat for lots that had never been surveyed.  Some towns also exempt the creation of one or two new lots from the original lot as a way to allow families to create a house lot for sale or to give to a family member with minimal review.

What are minor and major subdivisions?

Many towns split subdivisions by size, often at 3-5 lots.  Below this amount the towns apply a reduced process with less application materials.  This is not necessarily a good idea as small number of lots may still create problems, and one has to watch out for multiple minor subdivisions in a row.

What are the main concerns with subdivisions?

Regulating subdivisions allows towns to ensure that new lots are not unusually shaped, consist of only marginal lands, have proper access to them, and do not unnecessarily fragment fields and forests.  Through the subdivision process towns can require performance bonds to build things shown as part of the subdivision, such as private roads or sidewalks.  This is also the time for towns to require that accesses be combined onto town highways, that access rights-of-way are sufficiently wide and not too steep, that any owners’ associations are formed, and how any common land is dedicated.

Do I need an Act 250 Permit to subdivide?

See Ask Us About Permits.

What is a state subdivision permit?

See Ask Us About Permits.