Lot line adjustments are allowed under Section 66412(d) of the Subdivision Map Act. This section is applicable to an adjustment of the property lines between four or fewer existing adjoining parcels. This section says a local agency must limit its review and approval to a determination of whether or not the parcels resulting from the adjustment will conform to the local general plan, any applicable coastal plan, and zoning and building ordinances.
Lot line adjustments are generally necessary for:
- Reconfiguring property lines between adjoining properties because of a dispute.
- Optimizing the ability to develop properties owned by the same person or partners.
- To reconfigure the property line to encompass a structure or improvement that falls outside of the property.
Lot line adjustment applications must go through multiple departments within the local agency and require services from both a licensed land surveyor and also a title company to prepare the necessary documents. The surveyor prepares the Lot Line Adjustment Maps showing existing and proposed configurations as well as necessary local agency information. Once the lot line adjustment is approved, the surveyor then prepares the new legal descriptions for the adjusted parcels. The title company provides the necessary title documents required by the local agency, often including a Title Report/ Guarantee, and a Land Use Notification Package. The title company also provides assistance with the lenders that may be involved as well as any specific requests they may have in addition to facilitating the recording of the new grant deeds for the newly adjusted parcels. Pridmore & Company is happy to assist with what is required from the surveyor. Additionally, we can provide a more comprehensive handling of the lot line adjustment process, which includes assembling the complete lot line adjustment submittal package and being the direct point of contact/representative for the client with the local agency and the title company.
California generally has two types of subdivisions – Parcel Maps and Subdivision Maps. A Parcel Map can subdivide a single parcel into 4 parcels or fewer whereas a Subdivision Map can subdivide a single parcel into 5 parcels or more. You can also use a Subdivision Map to create a single common area lot for a condominium plan.
The first step to subdividing your property is to meet with either your local agency or land planners (like ourselves) to determine if the subdivision is feasible. Many factors contribute to the feasibility of a subdivision and it is highly recommended to hire an independent land planner to fully investigate all of the necessary requirements. We can investigate not only if the property can be subdivided per the local agencies zoning, but also what improvements would likely be required if a subdivision was done. For example, the local agency can require the developer to provide public improvements (streets, utilities etc.). This can result in additional project construction costs. In some cases, these costs can be upwards of a few hundred thousand dollars. Knowing the potential added cost up front will allow you to determine if moving forward with the project is feasible, and will limit and reduce unnecessary planning expenses.
Once you have moved past the investigation into feasibility for the project, both with the local agency and with the potential costs, then it is time to have the parcel surveyed so that a Tentative Map can be prepared. The surveyor, and often times a civil engineer, work together to prepare a Tentative Map (only a licensed land surveyor or registered civil engineer can prepare this). This map will include topography, existing and proposed easements, proposed parcel lines, building envelopes, and proposed streets and utilities. This map, when completed, can be submitted to the agency along with the application forms and fees. Depending on the agency, processing the map can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. Once the Tentative Map is approved by the agency, the final map and improvement plans can then be prepared. Here again, the processing time depends on the complexity of the project and the county. Once the final map and improvement plans have been approved, then remaining fees, tax bond, and public improvement bonds will need to the paid so that the map can be scheduled for final approval.