Subdivisions & Plats

How Subdivisions & Plats Work
The zoning laws regulate some aspects of how you can use your property, but other aspects are regulated by the city's subdivision regulations, Title 16 of the Hot Springs Municipal Code.

Purpose
One of the historic reasons to require that the subdivision and sale of land be reviewed and recorded through a subdivision process is to provide a simple system of legally defining property. Another longstanding purpose of subdivision regulations is to ensure that lots are actually "buildable" - that they meet the area and yard requirements of the zoning district; that they have access from a public way; that the land is suitable for buildings (e.g. not too steep, and not subject to flooding); and that adequate provisions have been made for water and sewer service, whether through community or individual on-site systems.

Easements may also be required, generally along the edges of lots, to accommodate public and private utility lines. Subdivision review ensures that streets line up properly and connect from one development to another, are properly designed and constructed and are named in a logical way that does not cause confusion for emergency and delivery services. Subdivision regulations also govern grading and drainage, erosion control and the installation of sidewalks, street trees and lighting. Developers may be required to pay for improvements off-site (e.g. a turn lane and/or a signal in the adjacent arterial street for traffic safety), as well as, on the site.

Plat Preparation & Filing
Plats involving new streets are prepared by engineers or surveyors who understand the many technical requirements. The preliminary plat is reviewed by staff from various departments and agencies and placed on the Planning Commission agenda for action. Final plats are then prepared and submitted, with appropriate improvements installed or guaranteed before the plat can be approved. The approved final plat is then filed with the County Clerk’s Office, at which time ownership of the individual lots may be legally transferred. For more information on subdivisions, contact a member of the Planning Department Development Review staff at 501-321-6650.