Residential Subdivision Design

In  towns and cities across America, residential subdivisions can add tremendous character to a Community.  Land Planning, Inc. has a long-standing history of designing beautifully laid out residential subdivisions.  We design roadways and house lots to work with the natural characteristics of the  land.  This can reduce construction costs for the land developer.  Also, with responsible environmental design and cutting edge, drainage design, we provide municipalities with the type of subdivisions that they want.

The process starts when either a land owner or a developer contacts us and lets us know that they have a desire to develop some land.  Typically we suggest they first retain us to draft a  concept sketch.  In less than a day, one of our engineers can create a realistic sketch of the land’s potential.

Our staff members have the ability to gather a large amount of somewhat accurate data without leaving their desks, thanks to the  resources of the Internet.  We can show approximate wetland areas and other critical resource areas.  We can  also obtain from the Internet, approximate topography of the site.   Satellite imagery is readily available both from State and Google Maps, and this data can help position existing structures and  stonewalls and other property line features.  We can also, assemble your approximate property lines using on line data.

After all the online data is assembled, we review the local bylaws and then prepare one, or several, concept sketches that show various potential developments of the site.   At this point, we will meet with our  client to evaluate the various options, and help them to determine which option will be best for them. Some of the optional sketches may include one or more of the following:

  • Open Space Subdivisions – These are a win-win for both the developer and the Town.  The Town gets to preserve open space while the developer gets to build shorter roads because the required lot frontage and is reduced.
  • Mixed Use Developments -  In certain zoning districts, businesses, condominiums, recreation and other types of uses can be mixed to create a new type of neighborhood.
  • Affordable housing – for many parcels with difficult constraints this option can turn a parcel with very little traditional design potential , into a very profitable development.  It also will help to provide affordable housing which will make ownership a reality for many who otherwise would not be able to ever have their own home.
  • Senior Housing – Florida is not the only place for retirees.  Combining open space and recreation with accessible condominiums, can be a creative way to bring residents to a Town without increasing demands on local schools.
  • Retreat lot bylaws, common driveway bylaws, multifamily bylaws, low impact roadway design bylaws and many other zoning and subdivision laws can be utilized to unlock the development potential of a parcel.   These bylaws can greatly reduce construction costs and make a development more profitable.  Some times they can make the difference between going forward with or abandoning a project.

Once a concept is decided upon and the land owner or developer wants to proceed, we prepare a realistic estimate of the costs to design the  Definitive Subdivision Plans.  In many towns we will have an informal meeting with The Town Planner  and with the Town Department Heads, and hash out ideas about the direction the design should take. This can be most helpful in identifying and eliminating potential problems going forward.

Following is a list of some of the items that will be required in order to design a subdivision.

  • Perimeter Land Surveying –  This is most important as we must determine the precise location of all property lines.  We have our own Professional Licensed Land Surveyors and survey crews and do not need to subcontract out this work.
  • Survey of existing conditions – this includes accurately locating topography, structures, wetlands, rivers, roadways, and other features that will impact the design.
  • Wetland resource area delineation - This involves flagging all wetlands, brooks, rivers, ponds, mean average high water marks and riparian zones.  The Rivers Act has made development of property near perennial streams most difficult.  However, there are rules that allow aggregation of lots that may solve the difficult problems associated with the River Front Act.
  •  Drainage Design – we utilize many techniques to ensure that post development drainage does not create an increase in runoff or a decrease in ground water recharge.
  • Erosion control –  Protecting environmentally sensitive areas throughout construction is very important and we take many precautions in our designs to ensure this happens.
  • Recordable Definitive Plans - Municipalities have an ever increasing list of what is required for small or large subdivisions and we stay on top of these requirements.

There are many other aspects to subdivision designs and we would be more than happy to answer any  questions you might have. Please contact us or simply post a question in our blog.