Types Of Subdivisions

There are many ways to subdivide your property and, in this post, we’re going to discuss the different types of subdivisions that are available in California.

Subdividing a property into multiple lots lets you increase the value of a property that would otherwise be less attractive to buyers. A subdivided property can be developed for a variety of uses and not all of them are the suburban-style homes that are popular among land developers.

The 5 subdivision types

Subdividing is a great option if you’re a land developer looking for a creative way to add value to your property. So, whether you’re selling, renting, or building on your parcel of land, here are the different types of subdivisions.

Rural Residential Subdivision

group of residential subdivisions

This type of subdivision refers to a single-family residential development on lots in rural areas.  A rural subdivision typically includes private roads and the lots are larger than one acre. Because rural subdivisions divide lands into five or more lots, you must make sure that you comply with the requirements stipulated by the California Department of Real Estate.

Planned Unit Development (PUD) Subdivision

Planned unit developments (known as a PUD or PUDs) are becoming popular within California. In fact, condominiums and PUDs are the main types of common interest developments that California land developers choose to create as they combat the dual problem of fast population growth and declining availability of land lots.

In case you’re unfamiliar with PUDs, this type of subdivision allows for various land uses within one subdivision, including residential units, commercial units (like grocery stores and office complexes), and other purposes like parks.

Commercial Development Subdivision

Commercial subdivisions divide a parcel of land into two or more lots for developing commercial buildings like offices, business parks, and similar structures. When you’re applying for a building permit for this type of subdivision, you’ll need to include a commercial plot plan. 

The approval process for commercial site plans occurs across four categories, floodplain management, traffic management and access, engineering and design, and subdivision compliance.

Urban (Conventional) Subdivision

Urban or conventional subdivisions are characterized by lower residential density and more space between developments within the subdivision. This class of subdivisions were created alongside the rise in automobile transportation and connects owners through a main collector road.

Conventional subdivisions aren’t considered suitable by most developers because there is increased land disturbance, conventional stormwater practices, and decreased accessibility to specific locations.

Single-Family Subdivision Development

These types of subdivisions were effectively abolished from California with the enactment of Senate Bill 9 (SB 9). As homelessness increases throughout California, lawmakers removed single-family zoning ordinance regulations (known as R1) and gave residents in R1 zones the ability to subdivide their lots into two and build additional homes on them.  Lawmakers hope that these types of subdivision properties will help combat the lack of affordable housing in California.

Fee Simple Subdivision

Homeowners in fee simple subdivisions can design their home or landscape however they choose, in accordance with local laws.

The concept behind these types of subdivision properties dates back to feudal times, when knights would own land in exchange for their services to a lord. Once these landholding arrangements were eliminated, a “simple” form of ownership was introduced, known as fee simple ownership.

Fee simple ownership is one of the most common types of subdivision choices for owners since it permits owners to use their land however they choose, as long as they don’t do anything that would constitute a crime or endanger others.

Strata Subdivisions (a.k.a., Unit Title)

The types of subdivision and ownership structures discussed have applied to the creation of subdivided land in which separate areas are owned separately. Strata title is a form of ownership in which a building or single unit is divided into different lots. For example, a single apartment is a part of a high-rise building with numerous apartments. The single apartment would be owned on a strata title.

Common area components involve structures that aren’t included in individual lots, like stairways and driveways.

Strata titles are also referred to as a unit title in New Zealand, where there are roughly 145,000 unit title dwellings.

Get help with public reports & reserve studies!

According to the Subdivided Lands Law, land developers must file public reports with the DRE to disclose vital property information to buyers. At California Builder Services, our professionals are ready to help you receive timely, accurate public reports. From researching preliminary data to coordinating sample document preparation and more, our team helps you ensure your sale is successful. Learn about our public report services here.If you decide to form a homeowners’ association for your common interest, our team can help you develop a robust reserve fund that lets you plan for financial success. Learn about our reserve studies here.

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