Subdivisions are any division or re-division of land for the purpose of sale, lease or transfer of ownership. Any time a property owner wants to create additional lots from a single lot, a subdivision will likely be required.
Subdivisions in Cowlitz County can be grouped into two categories: administrative subdivisions and subdivisions requiring public hearing. Administrative subdivisions do not require public hearings and are administered by County staff. The project is reviewed for conformance with relevant County Codes. Administrative subdivisions include Short Subdivisions and Large Lot Subdivisions.
Subdivisions requiring public hearing are analyzed for conformance with County Codes by County staff. Staff provide recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners for their review and decision during a public hearing. Subdivisions requiring a public hearing include Rural Subdivisions, Urban Subdivisions and Planned Unit Developments.
For more information, please contact County Planning staff at email@example.com.
Short subdivisions (also known as short plats) are defined as a subdivision of land into 2, 3 or 4 lots, any one of which is less than 5 acres in size (CCC18.34). Short plats are reviewed and approved by the Planning Division staff after being referred to agencies affected by the proposal for their comments. Short plats require potable water, sewage disposal, survey, legal access, and compliance with County environmental regulations.
Large Lot Subdivisions
Large Lot Subdivisions are reviewed in a process similar to short plats, except the availability of water is not required* Large lot subdivisions are defined as every division or re-division of land into two or more lots, each of which is equal to or larger than five acres in size, and any one of which is less than ten acres in size (CCC18.38). *Large Lot Subdivisions may require water rights per RCW 58.17.110.
Rural Subdivisions divide land into five or more lots. Rural subdivision regulations apply specifically to those areas classified as rural residential in the Comprehensive Plan and/or the Land Use Code (CCC 18.50). They involve lots greater than one acre, usually with private roads. Rural subdivisions are reviewed by County Planning Staff and other interested agencies, but must be reviewed by the Board of County Commissioners after public hearing and review and recommendation by the County Planning Commission.
Urban Subdivisions divide land into five or more lots. Urban subdivision regulations apply to those areas identified as suburban residential or urban residential in the Comprehensive Plan and/or the Land Use Code (CCC 18.32). Lots are less than one acre, and the subdivision usually includes public roads. Urban Subdivisions are reviewed by Planning Staff and other interested agencies, but must be approved by the Board of County Commissioners after public hearing and review and recommendation by the County Planning Commission.
Planned Unit Development
Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) are a type of subdivision characterized by a unified site design, clustering of buildings, common open space, density bonuses, and a mix of land uses and building types (CCC 18.30). This type of development requires special application materials and information, site review, and design standards. PUD's are reviewed by County Planning staff and other affected agencies. Like regular subdivisions, they must be approved by the Board of County Commissioners after a public hearing and review and recommendation by the County Planning Commission.