Portage County Regional Planning Commission
124 N Prospect St. Ravenna , OH , 44266-2274, US
Fax: (330) 297-3617
Phone: (330) 297-3613
Email: tpeetz@pcrpc.org
Hours: 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M Monday through Friday

Subdivision Frequently Asked Questions


Subdividing land can be a complicated process due to the many ways it is approached and the regulations that govern the process. Local surveyors are usually familiar with local regulations and can make the process easier.

Please see the Portage County Regional Planning Commission’s website for complete information:  http://www.co.portage.oh.us/planningcommission.htm.
or call our offices (330-297-3613) for help.

1. Where do I start if I want to split my property?
A call or visit to the Regional Planning Commission offices is the best place to start. A copy of the Tax Map showing your property helps the discussion. Tax Maps (2009) are available online at http://www.co.portage.oh.us/GIS/Parcel_PDFs/ or can be purchased at the Tax Map Department on the 3rd floor of the Portage County Administration Building, 449 S. Meridian St., Ravenna, Ohio. 

A discussion with the local Zoning Inspector about minimum lot size, frontage, and proposed use of the land is also encouraged.

2. Why do I need Regional Planning’s approval for a lot split?
The Ohio Revised Code gives authority to a Regional Planning Commission to administer regulations governing the subdivision of property when a county has adopted subdivision regulations as Portage County has done. 

3. What departments or agencies are involved in a subdivision of land?
Prior to and during the review process of a simple parcel subdivision, the following offices are involved: 

Local township Zoning Inspector
Portage County Regional Planning Commission
Portage County Board of Health if septic systems are involved
Portage County Water Resources if central sewer is available
Tax Map Department 
Auditor’s and Recorder’s offices are involved when the subdivision is put to record
 
4. How long does it take for a subdivision to be approved?
That depends on the type of division or subdivision of land. The Ohio Revised Code specifies the length of the review process.
The simplest divisions, exemptions, can be processed when they are brought in to Regional Planning’s office. 
Subdivisions of less than 5 parcels can be processed in 7 working days after a complete application is submitted to Regional Planning.
Changes to lots within a platted subdivision or new major subdivisions take 30 days or longer.

5. Why does it take so long to get a subdivision approved?
The Ohio Revised Code specifies the length of the review processes for subdivisions. All offices involved do their best to assure the new property being created meets all required standards in order to avoid problems when the time comes to sell a parcel of land or to construct a home or business on a new lot. Septic approvals can take time. The Health Department should be contacted about this process.

6. How does a new lot or parcel get created?
After a lot or parcel is surveyed and receives the appropriate approvals, it goes to record at the Portage County Recorder’s Office in one of two ways: 

1. If the parcel is not in a platted subdivision it goes to record with a legal description, which is included in the deed. The original survey drawing is kept by the Tax Map Department.
2.   If the new lot is in a platted subdivision, it goes to record as a plat map, not with a legal description. The County Engineer keeps the original plat and Tax Map keeps a copy of the recorded plat.

Lots and parcels are not created until they are processed by the Auditor’s offices for tax purposes and put to record at the Recorder’s Office. 

7. Why can’t I create a lot that does not meet current standards if I don’t want to build anything on it?
Lots that do not meet zoning regulations present problems for townships and for future landowners. While a substandard lot can make sense in terms of the current owners and the current situation, owners and situations change, leaving difficult property circumstances for those who follow. All offices involved in the subdivision of land want to create pieces of property that allow both current owners and future owners the best opportunity to use the land. To assure optimal use of the land now and in the future, zoning and subdivision regulations must be followed.

8. What if I want to create a lot or parcel that does not meet zoning standards or subdivision regulations? 
For lots that do not meet zoning standards, townships have Boards of Zoning Appeals to conduct variance hearings to decide whether to relax requirements in specific situations. A landowner may also need to apply for a variance from the Portage County Subdivision Regulations if they want to create a lot that does not meet county regulations. Financial hardships cannot be the sole purpose for a variance. Please call the township zoning inspector or Regional Planning’s offices for information about variances. A variance takes 30 days to review and must be submitted 30 days before the monthly Planning Commission meeting.

9. Why can’t I create a landlocked parcel or parcel with no frontage if I own adjoining land that has road frontage?
Zoning and subdivision regulations do not allow a parcel of land to be created without frontage even if there is adjoining land in the same ownership with frontage because either piece of land can be transferred to another owner at any time, eliminating that adjacency. 

10. Can Regional Planning approve a lot split that does not meet current zoning standards?
Regional Planning makes every effort to have all new parcels of land meet zoning standards. 

11. What if my neighbor and I want to swap a piece of property?
When property is being exchanged between adjoining landowners, the exchange process is not defined as a subdivision by the Ohio Revised Code and it is not subject to subdivision regulations. However the exchange cannot create a new building lot. Therefore, the Regional Planning Commission has a policy that defines building lots as follows:

1. In areas with central sewers, any lot greater than 4800 square feet is a building lot.
2. In areas with septic systems, a building lot is defined as any lot 1 acre or larger.

If a new building lot is created during an exchange of land between adjoining landowners, the piece being exchanged must be combined with the receiving landowners’ property.

Subdividing land can be a complicated process due to the many ways it is approached and the regulations that govern the process. Local surveyors are usually familiar with local regulations and can make the process easier.

 

Please see the Portage County Regional Planning Commission’s website for complete information:  http://www.co.portage.oh.us/planningcommission.htm.

or call our offices (330-297-3613) for help.

 

1. Where do I start if I want to split my property?

         A call or visit to the Regional Planning Commission offices is the best place to start. A copy of the Tax Map showing your property helps the discussion. Tax Maps (2009) are available online at http://www.co.portage.oh.us/GIS/Parcel_PDFs/ or can be purchased at the Tax Map Department on the 3rd floor of the Portage County Administration Building, 449 S. Meridian St., Ravenna, Ohio.

 

         A discussion with the local Zoning Inspector about minimum lot size, frontage, and proposed use of the land is also encouraged.

 

2. Why do I need Regional Planning’s approval for a lot split?

         The Ohio Revised Code gives authority to a Regional Planning Commission to administer regulations governing the subdivision of property when a county has adopted subdivision regulations as Portage County has done.

 

3. What departments or agencies are involved in a subdivision of land?

         Prior to and during the review process of a simple parcel subdivision, the following offices are involved:

 

  • Local township Zoning Inspector
  • Portage County Regional Planning Commission
  • Portage County Board of Health if septic systems are involved
  • Portage County Water Resources if central sewer is available
  • Tax Map Department
  • Auditor’s and Recorder’s offices are involved when the subdivision is put to record
    • The simplest divisions, exemptions, can be processed when they are brought in to Regional Planning’s office.
    • Subdivisions of less than 5 parcels can be processed in 7 working days after a complete application is submitted to Regional Planning.
    • Changes to lots within a platted subdivision or new major subdivisions take 30 days or longer.

 

4. How long does it take for a subdivision to be approved?

         That depends on the type of division or subdivision of land. The Ohio Revised Code specifies the length of the review process.

 

5. Why does it take so long to get a subdivision approved?

         The Ohio Revised Code specifies the length of the review processes for subdivisions. All offices involved do their best to assure the new property being created meets all required standards in order to avoid problems when the time comes to sell a parcel of land or to construct a home or business on a new lot. Septic approvals can take time. The Health Department should be contacted about this process.

 

6. How does a new lot or parcel get created?

         After a lot or parcel is surveyed and receives the appropriate approvals, it goes to record at the Portage County Recorder’s Office in one of two ways:

 

1.   If the parcel is not in a platted subdivision it goes to record with a legal description, which is included in the deed. The original survey drawing is kept by the Tax Map Department.

2.  If the new lot is in a platted subdivision, it goes to record as a plat map, not with a legal description. The County Engineer keeps the original plat and Tax Map keeps a copy of the recorded plat.

 

         Lots and parcels are not created until they are processed by the Auditor’s offices for tax purposes and put to record at the Recorder’s Office.

 

7. Why can’t I create a lot that does not meet current standards if I don’t want to build anything on it?

         Lots that do not meet zoning regulations present problems for townships and for future landowners. While a substandard lot can make sense in terms of the current owners and the current situation, owners and situations change, leaving difficult property circumstances for those who follow. All offices involved in the subdivision of land want to create pieces of property that allow both current owners and future owners the best opportunity to use the land. To assure optimal use of the land now and in the future, zoning and subdivision regulations must be followed.

 

8. What if I want to create a lot or parcel that does not meet zoning standards or subdivision regulations?

         For lots that do not meet zoning standards, townships have Boards of Zoning Appeals to conduct variance hearings to decide whether to relax requirements in specific situations. A landowner may also need to apply for a variance from the Portage County Subdivision Regulations if they want to create a lot that does not meet county regulations. Financial hardships cannot be the sole purpose for a variance. Please call the township zoning inspector or Regional Planning’s offices for information about variances. A variance takes 30 days to review and must be submitted 30 days before the monthly Planning Commission meeting.

 

9. Why can’t I create a landlocked parcel or parcel with no frontage if I own adjoining land that has road frontage?

         Zoning and subdivision regulations do not allow a parcel of land to be created without frontage even if there is adjoining land in the same ownership with frontage because either piece of land can be transferred to another owner at any time, eliminating that adjacency.

 

10. Can Regional Planning approve a lot split that does not meet current zoning standards?

         Regional Planning makes every effort to have all new parcels of land meet zoning standards.

 

11. What if my neighbor and I want to swap a piece of property?

         When property is being exchanged between adjoining landowners, the exchange process is not defined as a subdivision by the Ohio Revised Code and it is not subject to subdivision regulations. However the exchange cannot create a new building lot. Therefore, the Regional Planning Commission has a policy that defines building lots as follows:

 

         1.      In areas with central sewers, any lot greater than 4800 square feet is a building lot.

         2.      In areas with septic systems, a building lot is defined as any lot 1 acre or larger.

 

         If a new building lot is created during an exchange of land between adjoining landowners, the piece being exchanged must be combined with the receiving landowners’ property.