§ 155.706  SUBDIVISION REVIEW.
   (A)   Applicability. Subdivision approval shall be required before the division of land (for any purpose) into two or more parcels, except as expressly exempted below.
   (B)   Actions exempt from subdivision requirements. The following shall not be considered "subdivision" subject to review under this section:
      (1)   The combination or recombination of portions of previously subdivided and recorded lots where the total number of lots is not increased and the resulting lots are equal to or exceed the standards of this chapter;
      (2)   The division of land into parcels greater than ten acres where no street right-of-way dedication is involved;
      (3)   The public acquisition by purchase of strips of land for water or sewer infrastructure or the widening or opening of streets;
      (4)   The division of a site in single ownership whose entire area is no greater than two acres into not more than three lots, where no street right-of-way dedication is involved and where the resultant lots are equal to or exceed the standards of this chapter.
   (C)   No subdivision without plat approval.
      (1)   No person may subdivide land except in accordance with all of the provisions of this chapter. In particular, no subdivision may occur unless and until a final plat of the subdivision has been approved in accordance with the provisions of this section and recorded in the Johnston County Registry.
      (2)   The Johnston County Register of Deeds shall not record a plat of any subdivision within the town's planning jurisdiction unless the plat has been approved in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
      (3)   Not all divisions of land constitute subdivisions that are subject to regulation under this chapter. However, to ensure that such divisions are in fact exempt from the requirements of this chapter, all plats creating a division of land shall be presented to the Planning Director before recordation in the Johnston County Registry and the Planning Director shall indicate on the face of the plat that the division is exempt from the provisions of this chapter if that is the case.
      (4)   No street shall be maintained or accepted by the town, or shall any street lights, water, or sewer be extended to or connected with any subdivision of land, or shall any permit be issued by any administrative agent or department of the town for the construction of any building or other improvements requiring permit, upon any land for which a plat is to be approved, unless and until the requirements set forth in this chapter have been complied with.
      (5)   There are a variety of requirements for differing levels of resource protection in §§ 155.500 through 155.502, which must be met prior to the subdivision of land.
   (D)   Delegation of authority. The Town Council delegates review and approval authority for all minor plats and final plats to the Planning Director, with review by the Technical Review Committee.
   (E)   Unlawful to record plat without final or minor plat approval. It shall be unlawful to offer and cause to be recorded any final plat within the town limits with the Johnston County Register of Deeds unless the plat bears the endorsement and approval of the Planning Director or Town Clerk.
   (F)   Definitions.
      (1)   MINOR SUBDIVISION.
         (a)   A minor subdivision is a subdivision that does not involve any of the following:
            1.   Creation of a total of more than five lots;
            2.   Creation of any new public streets;
            3.   Extension of any water or sewer lines; or
            4.   Installation of drainage improvements through one or more lots to serve one or more other lots.
            5.   A traffic impact analysis as established in § 155.708.
         (b)   Minor subdivisions requires minor plat review and final plat review.
      (2)   MAJOR SUBDIVISION.
         (a)   All other divisions of land not exempted in division (B) of this section or listed in division (F)(1) of this section shall be considered major subdivisions.
         (b)   Major subdivisions require preliminary plat approval and final plat approval.
   (G)   Pre-application conference and sketch plan.
      (1)   All applicants seeking subdivision approval shall schedule a pre-application conference with the Planning Director, in accordance with § 155.702(A).
      (2)   At the time of the pre-application conference, applicants shall submit a sketch plan for review by the Planning Director. This plan should, in simple sketch form, show the proposed layout of streets, lots and other features in relation to existing conditions (see Planning Department for specific submittal requirements).
      (3)   The Planning Director shall make a determination as to which approval process authorized by this section can be used. The Planning Director may require the applicant to submit whatever supplemental information is necessary to make this determination.
      (4)   When a subdivision is to be developed in stages, a master plan shall be submitted for the entire development and a preliminary plat shall be submitted for each individual stage. A final plat is submitted for individual stages as each stage is developed. Each new stage shall be developed adjacent to an earlier stage.
   (H)   Minor plat review.
      (1)   Applicability.
         (a)   The procedure for approval of a minor subdivision plat is intended to simplify processing of routine small subdivisions with due regard to protection of the public interest. The difference between the minor and major subdivision processes is that minor subdivisions do not require preliminary plat review.
         (b)   There shall be only one minor subdivision approved on any original tax parcel in any three-year period. This division shall not apply to minor subdivisions for which the following conditions are met:
            1.   The owner and grantee certify that the grantee of each lot is the child or child and spouse, or grandchild and spouse of the owner;
            2.   The owner and grantee certify that no consideration shall be paid for any of the lots;
            3.   The owner and grantee certify that the purpose of the minor subdivision is not to circumvent the provisions of this chapter, and that none of the lots shall be conveyed to third parties for a period of not less than three years, and that the record plat shall indicate same.
            4.   Failure of any person to comply with the provisions of division (H)(1)(b)1., 2. and 3. of this section shall be in violation of this chapter, and all of the remedies available in G.S. § 160A-375 shall apply.
      (2)   Application requirements. All applications for minor plat review shall be submitted in accordance with § 155.702(C).
      (3)   Action by Planning Director.
         (a)   Upon submission of a completed application, the Planning Director shall schedule the minor subdivision plat for review by the Technical Review Committee. The Technical Review Committee shall review the plat for consistency with the requirements of this chapter. The Planning Director shall, after review by the Technical Review Committee, determine whether the plat conforms to the standards of a minor subdivision.
         (b)   If the minor subdivision plat is determined not to be in conformance with the requirements for a minor subdivision, the applicant may proceed with preliminary plat approval.
      (4)   Action following approval. Upon minor preliminary plat approval, the applicant may begin preliminary site work. All site work shall be performed in compliance with the requirements of this chapter, and other applicable regulations of the town, Johnston County, and the state. The final plat may be recorded in the Johnston County Record of Deeds.
      (5)   Continuing validity of minor plats. Within 24 months of the date of approval of the minor subdivision plat, the applicant shall submit application for final plat review otherwise the minor subdivision plat shall be null and void.
      (6)   Minor plat approval criteria. Minor subdivision plats shall be approved only when the Planning Director, after Technical Review Committee review, finds that all of the following conditions exist:
         (a)   Consistency with the adopted plans and of polices of the town;
         (b)   The plat complies with the standards of §§ 155.600 through 155.607, and any other applicable requirements of this chapter;
         (c)   The plat indicates that all subject lots will have frontage on existing approved streets;
         (d)   New or residual parcels conform to the requirements of this chapter and other applicable regulations;
         (e)   No new streets are required or are likely to be required for access to interior property;
         (f)   No drainage or utility easements will be required to serve interior property;
         (g)   No extension of public sewerage or water lines will be required; and
         (h)   The proposed subdivision will not adversely effect permissible development of the remainder of the parcel or of adjoining property.
      (7)   Waivers for minor plat approval. The Planning Director may grant exceptions to the requirements for minor plat approval provided that the purposes and intent of this section have been met.
   (I)   Preliminary plat approval (major subdivisions only).
      (1)   Applicability. A preliminary plat shall be required for all subdivisions that do not meet the definition of a minor subdivision as set forth in division (F) of this section.
      (2)   Application requirements.
         (a)   All applications for preliminary plat review shall be submitted in accordance with § 155.702(C).
         (b)   A traffic impact analysis may be required if the proposed subdivision meets the thresholds established in § 155.708.
         (c)   An application for a waiver from any of the provisions of §§ 155.600 through 155.607 shall be submitted in writing by the applicant at the time the preliminary plat is filed. The application shall state the grounds for the waiver and all the facts relied upon by the applicant.
      (3)   Notice and public hearings. The town shall hold all required public hearings and give notice in accordance with § 155.702(D).
      (4)   Neighborhood meeting. All applicants seeking major subdivision approval (open space subdivision only) shall hold a neighborhood meeting in accordance with § 155.702(B).
      (5)   Action by Planning Director.
         (a)   Upon submission of a completed application, the Planning Director shall schedule the preliminary plat for review by the Technical Review Committee. The Technical Review Committee shall review the preliminary plat for consistency with the requirements of this chapter.
         (b)   The following agencies shall be given an opportunity to review the proposed plat as needed:
            1.   County Superintendent of Schools.
            2.   County Health Department.
            3.   State Department of Transportation District Engineer.
            4.   State Department of Natural Resources and Community Development.
            5.   Other agencies and officials as the Planning Director or Planning Board may deem necessary or desirable.
         (c)   The Planning Director shall prepare a report that reviews the application in light of comments provided by the Technical Review Committee, and in light of the adopted plans and polices of the town, and the general requirements of this chapter. The report, preliminary plat and any related application materials shall be forwarded to the Town Council.
      (6)   Waivers.
         (a)   The Town Council may authorize, in specific situations, waivers to certain requirements of §§ 155.600 through 155.607 if it is clear that adequate provisions for the type and intensity of the proposed use has been or will be provided, and there are special circumstances, such as unique characteristics of the lot and area, or strict interpretation of the requirements render the subdivision of the property not feasible or desirable.
            1.   The granting of the waiver will not be detrimental to the public safety, health, or welfare or injurious to other property or improvements in the neighborhood in which the property is located;
            2.   The conditions upon which the request for a waiver is based are unique to the property for which the waiver is sought and are not generally applicable to other property;
            3.   Because of the particular physical surroundings, shape, or topographical conditions of the specific property involved, a particular hardship to the owner would result, as distinguished from a mere inconvenience, if the strict letter of this chapter are enforced; and
            4.   The purpose of the wavier is not based primarily upon financial consideration.
         (b)   In granting a waiver, the Town Council may require certain conditions that in its judgment, substantially secure the objectives, standards or requirements of this chapter.
      (7)   Action by Town Council.
         (a)   The preliminary plat shall be referred to the Town Council for final action after review is completed by the Planning Director and Technical Review Committee.  The preliminary plat shall be considered by the Town Council in accordance with its rules of procedure and the General Statutes of North Carolina.
         (b)   An evidentiary hearing shall be held after due notice has been given to the applicant and the general public. Sworn parties shall be given the opportunity to present evidence, cross-examine other parties, inspect any documentation, and offer evidence or testimony in rebuttal.
         (c)   Findings of fact shall be made by the Town Council that are based on sworn evidence or testimony presented at the meeting. Such evidence or testimony must be relevant, material, and competent.
         (d)   No final action shall be deemed to have been given by the Town Council on the preliminary plat until the Town Council's written decision on the preliminary plat is delivered to the applicant by the town.
         (e)   The Town Council may approve the preliminary plat, deny the preliminary plat, or send the preliminary plat back to the Technical Review Committee for additional consideration.
         (f)   If the Town Council should disapprove the preliminary plat, the reasons for such action shall be given to the applicant.
      (8)   Action following approval.
         (a)   Upon preliminary plat approval, the applicant may initiate proceedings to begin site work and installation of improvements. All work shall be performed in compliance with the requirements of §§ 155.600 through 155.607, and other applicable regulations of the town, Johnston County, and the state.
         (b)   Approval of a preliminary plat does not constitute approval of the final plat. Application for approval of the final (record) plat will be considered only after the requirements for final plat approval as specified in division (J) of this section have been fulfilled and after all other specified conditions have been met.
      (9)   Findings of fact required. No preliminary plat may be approved by the Town Council unless all of the following findings are made concerning the subdivision:
         (a)   Consistency with the adopted plans and of polices of the town.
         (b)   The subdivision meets all required specifications of this chapter.
         (c)   The subdivision will not be detrimental to the use or orderly development of other properties in the surrounding area and will not violate the character of existing standards for development of properties in the surrounding area.
         (d)   The subdivision design will provide for the distribution of traffic in a manner that will avoid or mitigate congestion within the immediate area, will provide for the unified and orderly use of or extension of public infrastructure, and will not materially endanger the environment, public health, safety, or the general welfare.
      (10)   Modification of construction standards. Notwithstanding the approval of a preliminary plat, the town shall have the authority to apply any revised construction standards to future plats at the time of application for final plat approval. The Public Works Director shall determine the maximum extent to which such new standards may feasibly apply.
      (11)   Continuing validity of preliminary plats.
         (a)   Within 24 months of the date of approval of the preliminary plat, the applicant shall submit a final plat for at least one section of the subdivision otherwise the preliminary plat shall be null and void.
         (b)   All sections of an approved preliminary plat must be submitted for final plat approval within three years of preliminary plat approval for a preliminary plat containing up to 100 lots, and within five years for a preliminary plat containing 100 lots or more. Otherwise, the preliminary plat shall be null and void.
   (J)   Final plat review (major and minor subdivisions).
      (1)   Applicability. A final plat shall be required for all subdivision of land in the town and its extraterritorial jurisdiction.
      (2)   Application requirements. All applications for final plat review shall be submitted in accordance with § 155.702(C).
      (3)   Action by Planning Director.
         (a)   Upon submission of a completed application, the Planning Director shall within 60 days schedule the final plat for review by the Technical Review Committee. The Technical Review Committee shall review the final plat for consistency with the with the approved minor subdivision plat or approved preliminary plat, as applicable, and the general requirements of this chapter.
         (b)   Upon completion of the technical review, the Planning Director may approve the final plat, deny the final plat, or send the plat back for additional consideration.
         (c)   If the final plat is disapproved by the Planning Director, the reasons for such disapproval shall be stated in writing, specifying the provisions of this chapter with which the final plat does not comply.
      (4)   Final plat approval criteria. Final plats shall be approved when the following conditions exist:
         (a)   Consistency with the adopted plans and of polices of the town;
         (b)   The plat substantially complies with the approved minor plat or preliminary plat, as applicable;
         (c)   The plat complies with the standards of §§ 155.600 through 155.607 and the other applicable requirements of this chapter;
         (d)   New and residual parcels will conform to the requirements of this chapter and other applicable regulations;
         (e)   All necessary right-of-way has been offered for reservation or dedication; and
         (f)   All necessary drainage easements have been provided.
      (5)   Endorsements on final plats.
         (a)   Minor plats. All minor subdivision final plats shall contain the following certificates:
            1.   Certificate of ownership;
            2.   Certificate of survey and accuracy;
            3.   Certificate of approval by the Planning Director; and
            4.   Johnston County Plat Review Officer's Certificate.
         (b)   Major plats.
            1.   All major subdivision final plats shall contain the following certificates:
               A.   Certificate of ownership and dedication;
               B.   Certificate of survey and accuracy;
               C.   Certificate of approval of water supply and sewage and disposal systems (county);
               D.   Certificate of approval of the design and installation of streets, utilities, and other required improvements;
               E.   Certificate of approval by the Town Manager, as applicable; and
               F.   Johnston County Plat Review Officer's Certificate.
            2.   All final plats located outside the corporate limits of the town, but within the planning jurisdiction, shall contain the following certificates:
               A.   NCDOT Engineer Certificate; and
               B.   Certificate of approval of non-municipal water supply and sewage disposal systems.
            3.   When required by the federal government, all final plats shall contain a certificate for a federally funded project.
      (6)   Action after approval.
         (a)   The applicant shall file the approved final plat with the County Register of Deeds for recording within 60 days after the date of approval. The Planning Director, upon receipt of a written request, may extend this date an additional 30 days, if the request is received prior to the original expiration date and the final plat meets all applicable provisions of this chapter.
         (b)   The approval of a final plat shall not be deemed to constitute or affect the acceptance or affect the acceptance by the town of the dedication of any street or other ground, public utility line, or other public facility shown on the plat. However, the town may, by resolution, accept any dedication made to the public of lands or facilities for streets, parks, public utility lines, or other public purposes, when the lands or facilities are located within its subdivision regulation jurisdiction. Acceptance or dedication of lands or facilities located within the subdivision regulation jurisdiction but outside the corporate limits of the town shall not place on the town any duty to open, operate, repair, or maintain any street, utility line, or other land or facility, and the town shall in no event be held to answer in any civil action or proceeding for failure to open, repair, or maintain any street located outside its corporate limits.
   (K)   Dedication and improvements.
      (1)   In the development of any subdivision, the applicant shall be required to dedicate any additional right-of-way necessary to the width required by the town for streets adjoining the property, to install curbs and gutters and pave all streets adjoining the property to town standards, and to install sidewalks in accordance with the policies and requirements of §§ 155.600 through 155.607.
      (2)   The applicant shall bear the costs of the installation of all on-site improvements as required by this chapter, including provision for surface drainage, pavement, landscaping, and utilities. Any applicant required to install or construct off-site improvements pursuant to this section may, with the approval as a condition of subdivision approval, and upon a determination by the Planning Director that such improvements are not necessary or desirable at the time, but will be needed in the future, make a payment in lieu of such improvements or part thereof. The amount of any such payment shall be an amount estimated by the town to be the actual and total installation and construction costs of such improvements. The amount paid for a given improvement shall be considered total and complete payment for the improvements considered, and will preclude any further assessment of the property in the event that the town elects to install such improvements at a later date.
      (3)   For all residential developments approved after July 3, 1995, recreation and open space dedication, or payment of fee-in-lieu thereof in accordance with § 155.203(H) shall be required.
   (L)   Guarantees of improvements. Guarantee of improvements shall be made in accordance with § 155.607.
   (M)   Inspections of required improvements. Inspections of improvements shall be made in accordance with § 155.607(D).
   (N)   Approved plat modifications.
      (1)   Minor modifications.
         (a)   Preliminary plat. Minor revisions to an approved preliminary plat may be approved by the Planning Director if the revisions are within the scope and intent of the original approval. Such revisions may include but not be limited to:
            1.   Reducing the lot count;
            2.   Modifying phase lines; and
            3.   Minor adjustments to lot or street locations.
         (b)   Final plat. A final plat may be rerecorded to:
            1.   Revise or correct dimensions;
            2.   Change street names;
            3.   Add, delete or modify easements or private covenants;
            4.   Change subdivision name; or
            5.   Other minor modifications that are within the scope and intent of the original approval subject to approval of the Planning Director.
         (c)   Procedures.
            1.   Preliminary plat.
               A.   When minor revisions are proposed to an approved preliminary plat, the applicant shall submit a written request to the Planning Director with a copy sent to the Technical Review Committee delineating the revisions and requesting authorization for administrative revision.
               B.   The Planning Director shall notify the applicant whether the proposed revision qualifies for minor modification and the basis for the determination. If approved, the final plat may be submitted in accordance with the revisions.
               C.   The Planning Director shall distribute copies of the revised plat to the appropriate agencies.
            2.   Final plat.
               A.   When minor revisions are proposed to an approved final plat, the applicant shall submit a written request to the Planning Director with a copy sent to the Technical Review Committee delineating the revisions and requesting authorization for administrative revision.
               B.   If the plat has been recorded, the applicant shall submit the recorded plat with a statement describing the revisions made and title block for the Planning Director signature, and date of signing.
               C.   If the ownership of the subdivision has changed or if any lots have been sold since the previous recording, an owner's and notary's certificates shall be provided on the plat for each current owner.
               D.   In addition to the letter and the revised final plat, the applicant shall submit the required fees to the Planning Director for processing and rerecording the revised plat.
               E.   The Planning Director shall distribute copies of the recorded final plat to the appropriate agencies.
      (2)   Major modifications. Proposed modifications to an approved preliminary plat or final plat not considered minor revisions shall be submitted and processed as new applications in accordance with the provisions of this section.
   (O)   Resubdivision and recombination procedures. For any replatting or resubdivision of land, the same procedures, rules, and regulations shall apply as prescribed for an original subdivision. Lot size and configuration may, however, be varied on an approved plat after recording, provided that:
      (1)   No lot or parcel of land shall be created or sold that does not conform to the minimum standards of the applicable zoning district;
      (2)   Easements or rights-of-way shall not be changed;
      (3)   Street alignment and block sizes shall not be changed;
      (4)   The character of the area shall be maintained;
      (5)   A recombination of existing parcels may be approved by the Planning Director, subject to the following:
         (a)   The resultant lots are equal to the standards of this chapter or more closely conform to the minimum lot size standards in this chapter;
         (b)   The total number of lots is not increased;
         (c)   All the metes and bounds boundaries of the affected lots are shown;
         (d)   All lot boundaries changed or eliminated by requested combination are indicated by dashed lines;
         (e)   The title block contains the word "recombination";
         (f)   Structures on the affected lots are shown and the requested recombination does not violate setback requirements of the §§ 155.200 through 155.204;
         (g)   The recombination plat is signed by all property owners if either the number of lots is reduced or different owners for different lots are involved in the recombination;
         (h)   The recombination plat is signed and sealed by a registered surveyor;
         (i)   The recombination plat is certified by the Planning Director; and
         (j)   The recombination plat conforms to all laws and ordinances for the recordation of maps.
   (P)   Appeal. Final action on a final plat may be appealed to the Board of Adjustment in accordance with § 155.717.
(Ord. 2005-11-02, passed 11-21-05; Am. Ord. 2007-04-05, passed 4-2-07; Am. Ord. 2008-08-04, passed 8-4-08; Am. Ord. 2011-05-02, passed 5-2-11; Am. Ord. 2018-07-02, passed 7-16-18)