Parcel Maps & Parcel Map Waivers

When we think of “Subdivision” what comes to mind is a Subdivision Map or, as some counties refer to them as “Tract Map,” creating multiple residential lots.  The word has at least a couple of different meaning, though.

Under the Subdivision Map Act, which governs land division in California, “Subdivision” is defined generally as “the division of any existing (tax) parcel for sale, lease or financing.”

To DRE, “Subdivision” means an offering of 5 or more residential lots for sale to the public.

From time to time, a Parcel Map may be used to create five or more parcels, which can be offered for sale to the public.  In the eyes of the DRE, the Parcel Map in that case would need to be filed with their agency for a Final Public Report prior to sales of the parcels.

Another type of Subdivision that is often overlooked is not a map at all – it’s a WAIVER of a map – called a “Parcel Map Waiver.”  This is a type of land division that is allowed by the Subdivision Map Act, in specific situations:  a) each parcel creating has approved access to a public street or highway; and b) each parcel created by the division has a gross area of not less than 40 acres.  In this situation, the governing agency approves the Parcel Map Waiver and the properties can be offered for sale.  Sometimes the map is not recorded; instead, a Survey map is recorded which reflects the various parcels. 

In the case of a Parcel Map Waiver, even though it is not referred to as a Subdivision by the local agency, it is definitely a Subdivision in the eyes of the DRE, and a Final Public Report must be obtained prior to the marketing or sale of lots to the public.

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