Subdivision and land Development Questions & Answers

SOME DEFINITIONS

WHAT IS A SUBDIVISION?
Generally, a subdivision is any change in an existing lot line for any purpose.
A minor subdivision is the division of a parcel into no more than 10 lots (counted from May 15, 1972) which all have public road frontage.
A major subdivision is any division of a parcel not classified as a minor subdivision.
WHAT IS A LAND DEVELOPMENT?
A land development is the placement of two or more residential buildings on one lot OR one or more non-residential buildings on a lot or lots.
WHAT IS A MOBILE HOME PARK?
A mobile home park is a land development which contains two or more mobile home lots.
WHAT IS A “PERC TEST”?
A “Perc test” is the common term used to describe the investigations done by a Sewage Enforcement Officer to determine your land’s suitability for an on-lot sewer system.
WHAT IS A SEWAGE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER?
An “SEO” is the person hired by the Township or Borough to administer the sewage facilities regulations of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources and the Township or Borough.
Complete definitions are found in the Susquehanna County Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance available at cost at the Susquehanna County Planning Office in Montrose.

COMMON QUESTIONS

WHAT DO I DO FIRST?
Generally, the first step in subdividing or developing your land should be to visit the Susquehanna County Planning Office. The staff will advise you in all of the steps involved and will give you names and telephone numbers of people you will need to contact.
DO I NEED A SURVEY?
All subdivisions and land developments require a plan (map) to be prepared by a Pennsylvania Registered Land Surveyor. Your contract with the surveyor should specify the development of a plan that meets the subdivision and land development requirements of both the County and State.
DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY?
It is always a good idea to have the advice of an attorney for real estate transactions. If you are conveying a lot or lots to another party. you will probably need an attorney to handle the legal matters.
WHO REVIEWS MY PLAN?
The Planning Commission staff is responsible for initial review of all plans. The Township or Borough is given the opportunity to comment on the plan. Certain minor subdivisions can be approved or disapproved “in house” by the Planning Director. Otherwise, the plan is taken to the next regular meeting of the Planning Commission, provided that the plan has been submitted at least 10 working days prior to the Planning Commission meeting.
HOW LONG DOES THE APPROVAL PROCESS TAKE?
You should expect to complete the process in 4 to 6 months. Surveyors usually have a waiting list. Sewer planning can take up to 90 days. The County has 90 days to review your plan.
ARE THERE FEES?
Surveyors and attorneys will charge you for their services. Townships and Boroughs collect fees for perc tests and permits. The County levies a small charge to cover the cost of plan review.
WHEN CAN I START TO BUILD OR DEVELOP?
Only after you have received a letter from the Susquehanna County Planning Commission approving your plan.

PREPARING A PLAN

  • Contact your Township or Borough officials to arrange for your sewer planning (sewer planning module, site investigation and perc test). The municipality and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources are responsible for sewer planning and permitting.
  • Arrange for a survey of the lot(s).
  • Contact the Township or Borough, and the PennDOT regarding a driveway permit.
  • Contact an attorney and realtor if desired.
  • Obtain the appropriate application for plan approval from the Susquehanna County Planning Office.
  • Obtain a tax map of the property from the Tax Mapping Office in the Courthouse.
  • Submit a complete plan to the Susquehanna County Planning Office. Incomplete plans will be returned.

WHERE TO FIND IT

Township or Borough Office
– Sewer planning information
– SEO name and telephone number
– Township Road Driveway Permit
– Building Permit
County Planning Office
– Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance
– Guidelines for subdivision or land development
– Application for subdivision of land development
– Floodplain maps
– Wetland maps
– Topographical maps
County Court House
– Tax maps
– Deeds
PennDOT
– State highway occupancy (driveway) permits

What are the PURPOSES of the Susquehanna County Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance?

– to regulate the subdivision and land development of land; and – to promote public health, safety and general welfare; – to further the orderly layout and use of the land; – to prevent the overcrowding of the land; – to minimize congestion in the streets and highways; – to provide for adequate light and air; – to facilitate adequate provision of water sewerage and other public facility requirements; – to provide for safe ingress and egress; – to avoid hazards of soil or topographical conditions; – to manage the drainage hazards for the proposed development and surrounding properties; – to minimize the impact of subdivision and land development on the County’s physical and social environments; and – to promote the proper monumenting of land and accurate legal descriptions to facilitate the conveyance of land in the future.
“These regulations are adopted in order to ensure the development of the County in conformity with officially adopted regional, county and local municipal plans and policies.”