112 West Main Street
P.O. Box 111
Orange, Virginia 22960
1-540-672-3313
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CHAPTER 54 – SUBDIVISION ORDINANCE

Sec. 54-40. – When Required.

A record plat shall be required for: all subdivisions; boundary line adjustments; property consolidations; access, water/wastewater/drainage, stormwater, and public easement dedications; and right-of-way dedications. An accompanying improvements plan shall be required for any road construction, road extension, construction of water, wastewater, and/or drainage lines and facilities, construction of stormwater facilities, and any improvements so required by this Ordinance or by the Subdivision Agent.

Sec. 54-41. – Form and Preparation.

The plat and any associated plans shall be prepared by a professional surveyor or engineer licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Documents shall consist of black or blue lines on white paper with a maximum overall size of eighteen inches by twenty-four inches (18”x24”) for plats and twenty-four inches by thirty-six inches (24”x36”) for improvements plans. Plats and plans shall be consistent with the quality and formatting requirements set forth in the Library of Virginia Records Management Standards for Plats, and with the minimum standards and procedures for land boundary surveying practice set forth in the Code of Virginia.

Sec. 54-42. – Record Plat Information.

A record plat shall show:

  1. A title block denoting the type of plat, affected property owners’ names or subdivision name (if applicable), tax parcel number(s) and source(s) of title for the affected properties, phase name/number (if applicable), and original date of plat/plan preparation;
  2. The name, signature, license number, seal, business address, and contact information for the surveyor or engineer involved in plat preparation;
  3. A graphic scale, date, and north arrow (on every page containing graphic information);
  4. An area to list revisions and dates;
  5. A vicinity map showing the subject property and its relationship to surrounding roads, area names and landmarks, jurisdictional boundaries, etc. at a scale sufficient to determine the location within the County;
  6. Tax parcel numbers, owners, and sources of title for all adjacent lots;
  7. The zoning district of the subject lot(s) and, in the case of multiple zoning districts, the location where the districts split;
  8. Phases of development, if applicable;
  9. Acknowledgement of any proffers affecting the property pursuant to any approved conditional zoning, or any approved variances;
  10. Boundaries of the entire affected property/properties (unless otherwise provided for in this Ordinance) with straight lines described by distances to the nearest hundredth of a foot and bearings to the nearest second, and curves described by the radius, arc, and chord to the nearest hundredth of a foot and the delta and chord bearings to the nearest second;
  11. Lot numbers in consecutive numerical order (if applicable);
  12. Changes in acreage of affected lots and/or acreages of new lots (if applicable);
  13. Jurisdictional boundaries (i.e. town limits and County lines);
  14. If any affected properties were acquired via more than a single source of title, the dividing line(s) between the multiple tracts shown as a dashed line;
  15. The location, roadway width, right-of-way and/or easement width, right-of-way and/or easement source of title, and name (and route number if applicable) of existing roads;
  16. Known easements, including any easement(s) shown on a plat recorded in the Orange County Circuit Court, along with their respective deed book and page numbers (or instrument numbers) and owners of record;
  17. The locations of existing entrances and approximate locations of proposed entrances onto adjacent state roads along with distances to the nearest intersection(s);
  18. The approximate location and extent of any 100-year floodplain as identified on current FEMA FIRM maps;
  19. The location and extent of any mapped dam break inundation zones, or a statement that no the property is not located within any such zone;
  20. The identification and delineation of any existing wetlands in accordance with the current US Army Corps of Engineers Wetlands Delineation Manual (if shown as part of a preliminary plat);
  21. The extent of any existing waterbodies (with approximate acreages);
  22. The approximate locations of perennial streams and intermittent streams, and their names if applicable;
  23. Any cemetery and other place of burial, which shall be delineated and reserved within an open space easement, the boundaries of which shall be no closer than ten (10) feet to the extent of the burial area;
  24. The location, right-of-way widths, and names of proposed roads (proposed public roads shall be labeled as “dedicated to public use”), provided the proposed road names have been approved by the County’s addressing coordinator;
  25. The locations, dimensions, and purposes of all proposed easements (proposed public easements shall be labeled as “reserved for public use”);
  26. Easements for temporary cul-de-sacs and turnarounds, if applicable;
  27. The known or readily-observed locations of existing wells, existing septic drainfields (and reserved areas), public water lines, public sewer lines, gas lines, power lines, manholes, and fire hydrants;
  28. Any land to be dedicated to public use in fee simple, or to be held in common ownership;
  29. The boundaries and acreages for any areas reserved for recreational or open space purposes;
  30. Signature blocks for “Orange County Subdivision Agent,” “Virginia Department of Transportation” (as applicable), “Rapidan Service Authority” (or other public utility provider; as applicable), and “Virginia Department of Health” (as applicable);

Sec. 54-43. – Record Plat Notes and Certificates.

The following notes and certificates shall appear on the record plat, and shall be executed as appropriate:

  1. As a standalone note in bold face:  “This plat must be recorded within six (6) months of the Subdivision Agent’s approval signature or it shall be considered void.”
  2. “I certify that this plat has been prepared in accordance with all County requirements and state code requirements regarding the preparation of plats, including the minimum state standards and procedures for land boundary survey practice, and may be committed to record in the Circuit Court.” (to be signed and dated by the surveyor or engineer)
  3. “The platting and/or dedication of the property shown hereon, being (insert Circuit Court deed book/page number or instrument number and County tax parcel number for each affected property), is with the free consent and in accordance with the desire of the undersigned owners, proprietors, and trustees, if any.” (to be signed and dated by all owners; each signature shall be notarized)
  4. “The (insert type of plat) shown hereon has been reviewed and approved by the undersigned in accordance with existing regulations and may be committed to record.” (to be followed by the appropriate signature blocks for review agencies)
  5. “This plat has been prepared (with / without) the benefit of a title report.”
  6. A statement as to whether the plat represents a current field survey and/or represents a compilation of deeds and/or plats of record.
  7. Addresses, if any, for structures on affected properties.
  8. “(A portion / Portions) of the (property / properties) shown hereon (is / are) located within FEMA flood zone (A / AE) (areas subject to inundation by the 1%-annual-chance flood event), as shown on FIRM map (insert the number of the map panel(s)), dated (insert the date of the FIRM map).”OR “(Property / Properties) shown hereon (is / are) located within FEMA flood zone X (areas outside of the 0.2%-annual-chance floodplain).”
  9. If any affected property is subject to a conservation easement, a note specifying that the easement exists and specifying the deed book/page number or instrument number for the deed of easement.
  10. For family subdivisions:“This is a family subdivision as defined by the Orange County Subdivision Ordinance. Each lot created hereon as a family subdivision shall be titled in the name of the immediate family member for whom the subdivision is approved for a period of no less than five (5) years from the date of plat approval.”
  11. For a plat requiring VDH review and approval:”A copy of the plat showing the approved building, well, and septic field locations, unless otherwise noted, is on file in the Orange County Virginia Department of Health office.”
  12. For a plat showing the creation of a residual lot greater than six (6) acres in size:“Approval of the residue lot shown hereon does not certify or guarantee the presence of adequate soils to support an onsite wastewater treatment system, nor does it guarantee that the lot is deemed buildable by the County.”
  13. For the creation or extension of a private road:“(Insert name of private road) shown hereon is private and its maintenance is not a public responsibility. It shall not be eligible for acceptance into the state secondary system for maintenance until such time as it is constructed and otherwise complies with all requirements of the Virginia Department of Transportation for the addition of subdivision roads current at the time of such request. Any costs required to cause this road to become eligible for addition into the state system shall be provided with funds other than those administered by the Virginia Department of Transportation.”
  14. For the creation or extension of a public road:“(Insert name of public road(s)) shown hereon (is / are) hereby dedicated to public use, and shall be constructed to meet the Virginia Department of Transportation Secondary Street Acceptance Requirements. (This road / These roads), upon meeting the necessary state requirements and with the appropriate petition to the Orange County Board of Supervisors, may be included in the system state highways for maintenance by VDOT, upon VDOT approval.”
  15. For a plat showing the creation of a private access easement, private road right-of-way, or any new driveway onto an existing state road:“Prior to construction of any new entrance and/or road connecting to an existing state road, a VDOT Land Use (Entrance) Permit shall be required in addition to a Land Disturbance Permit issued by Orange County.”
  16. For a plat showing the reservation of temporary turnaround easements:“The area(s) on this plat designated for temporary turnaround(s) shall be constructed and used until (road name(s)) (is / are) extended, at which time the land within the reserved area(s) shall revert to the underlying owners and the turnaround easement shall be deemed abandoned.”
  17. For a plat showing the vacation of a previous agricultural subdivision and subsequent approval of the lot(s) as buildable:“Approval and recordation of this plat vacates the previous agricultural subdivision recorded in (insert Circuit Court deed book/page number or instrument number for the plat) and hereby creates a lot deemed buildable by the County.”

Sec. 54-44. – Supplemental Requirements for Certain Types of Record Plats.

In addition to the requirements of this Ordinance, and/or modified as stated in this section, the following shall apply depending on the type of record plat being submitted:

  1. Family Subdivisions. A single division of a lot is permitted for the purpose of sale or gift to a member of the property owner’s immediate family, subject to the requirements established by § 15.2-2244 of the Code of Virginia and to the following provisions:
    1. The grantor has held the property being subdivided for five (5) or more years;
    2. The grantee is an immediate family member of the owner, defined as any person who is a natural or legally defined offspring, stepchild, spouse, sibling, grandchild, grandparent, or parent of the owner;
    3. No previous transfer under this provision has been granted to the grantee;
    4. The grantee is able to hold real estate under Virginia law;
    5. Lots created pursuant to this section shall be titled in the name of the grantee for a period of time no less than five (5) years unless such lots are subject to an involuntary transfer due to foreclosure, death, judicial sale, condemnation, or bankruptcy. Such provisions shall be noted as a restrictive covenant in each deed of transfer;
    6. The grantor and grantee shall sign an affidavit, in a format approvable by the Subdivision Agent, upon which both parties certify compliance with all requirements of this Ordinance and the Code of Virginia pertaining to family subdivisions; and
    7. Draft copies of all deeds associated with a family subdivision shall be submitted along with the requisite plats for review by the Subdivision Agent.
  2. Boundary Line Adjustments. Plats showing the adjustment of property lines, or other boundary line(s), between contiguous lots shall be subject to the following provisions:
    1. If any lot or property to be adjusted is six (6) acres or less in area, the boundaries of the property shall be shown on the plat in their entirety based on either a current field survey or existing plats of record in the Circuit Court;
    2. For lots or properties to be adjusted which are greater than six (6) acres in area, only the area of adjustment and any associated tie/reference lines is required to be field surveyed and shown on the plat;
    3. A tabulation table shall be affixed to the face of the plat which denotes the change in acreage for each adjusted lot or property, and where acreages are derived from existing public records, a note shall be affixed specifying as such;
    4. Existing encroachments shall be shown and the extent of such encroachments shall be noted, unless the location of the encroachment is not required to be shown pursuant to subsection (2) above;
    5. Adjusted lots shall each meet the minimum lot size and minimum frontage specified by the underlying zoning district. The Subdivision Agent may approve a boundary line adjustment where these minimums are not able to be met, but the adjustment otherwise reduces the extent of an existing lawful nonconformity;
    6. The adjustment shall have no effect of circumventing the County Code; and
    7. If the area of adjustment is between different property owners, a draft copy of the deed of conveyance shall be submitted along with the requisite plats.
  3. Property Consolidations. Plats showing the consolidation of two (2) or more lots or properties into a single property shall be subject to the following provisions:
    1. The boundaries of all properties included in the consolidation shall be shown on the plat in their entirety;
    2. Boundary information for lots included in the consolidation may be based on either a current field survey or existing plats of record in the Circuit Court, the latter of which is permissible provided a note is affixed to the plat denoting the location of said plat(s) in the Circuit Court;
    3. The plat shall clearly show which property lines are being vacated in order to complete the consolidation;
    4. A total consolidated acreage shall be clearly denoted on the plat, and where acreages are derived from existing public records, a note shall be affixed specifying as such; and
    5. Existing encroachments located along the perimeter of the property (post-consolidation), if observed as part of a field survey, shall be shown and the extent of such encroachments shall be noted.
  4. Agricultural Subdivisions. Plats showing the creation of a lot for bona fide agricultural purposes shall be subject to the following:
    1. Approval of the plat by VDH and VDOT shall not be required, provided the lot on the plat is clearly marked with the following statement: “Not approved as a residential or commercial building lot”;
    2. The deed for the lot shall clearly indicate that it is approved as an agricultural subdivision and not approved as a residential or commercial building lot;
    3. Prior to any non-agricultural development of the lot, the previous plat showing the agricultural subdivision shall be vacated and a new subdivision plat approved pursuant to this Ordinance. For the purposes of this section, non-agricultural development shall refer to any residential, commercial, or industrial uses and/or structures, but not intensive livestock facilities otherwise regulated by the Zoning Ordinance.

Sec. 54-45. – Multiple Actions on a Single Record Plat.

Record plats submitted for review and approval pursuant to this Article shall generally contain only one (1) type of action per plat, and shall each be subject to individual fees for plat review. The Subdivision Agent, at his/her sole discretion, may allow a single application for record plat review for multiple actions on a property (e.g. a consolidation and subsequent subdivision of two adjacent lots). This is provided he/she determines, via a pre-application request by the subdivider, that the clarity of the plat information and the actions being performed are not hindered by being shown on a single plat.

Sec. 54-46. – Improvements Plan Information.

  1. An improvements plan for any road, sidewalk, water/sewer, stormwater, or other physical improvements required as part of the development which are related to any of the following types of development shall be submitted with the record plat review application:
    1. Any plat which requires the construction of a new road to serve three (3) or more lots, or the extension of an existing road which cumulatively serves three (3) or more lots;
    2. Any plat which requires the installation of sidewalks and/or street lights;
    3. Any plat which requires the installation of stormwater facilities and infrastructure;
    4. Any plat to be served by public water and/or sewer;
    5. Any plat to be served by a community water and/or sewer system; and
    6. Any unique situation not listed above for which physical improvements are required by County Code or by the Subdivision Agent.
  2. Plans shall be drawn to meet applicable County requirements, and/or to the specifications and standards of the agency to be responsible for maintenance of the improvements.
  3. Plans shall show, at a minimum:
    1. If the proposed improvements connect to or are an extension/continuation of existing improvements within or adjacent to the development, the extent and location of the existing improvements;
    2. If existing improvements must be upgraded, information and details regarding how the upgrade will be completed;
    3. The alignment and/or location of the proposed improvements with easements/rights-of-way delineated;
    4. For utilities: installation and construction details for the improvements;
    5. For sidewalks, roads, and other travelways: typical cross section diagrams;
    6. For private roads: the location of existing utilities, the existence of shrink/swell soils, existing topography and proposed grading, the location of streams/ponds, wetlands, and stream crossing details;
    7. An erosion and sediment control plan pursuant to Chapter 26 (Erosion & Sediment Control) of the County Code and to applicable state laws;
    8. Signature blocks for “Orange County Subdivision Agent,” “Orange County Erosion & Sediment Control Program Administrator” (as applicable), “Virginia Department of Transportation” (as applicable), “Rapidan Service Authority” (or other public utility provider; as applicable), and “Virginia Department of Health” (as applicable); and
    9. The overall layout of the property and other plat information as shown on the record plat in a level of detail necessary to understand the extent of the proposed improvements on the property.
  4. Nonresidential subdivisions, which are otherwise subject to the minor site plan or major site plan requirements of the Zoning Ordinance, are exempt from this section.
  5. A preliminary plat and its associated improvements plan approved pursuant to this Ordinance shall be deemed as meeting the requirements of this section.

Sec. 54-47. – Record Plat and Improvements Plan Approval Process.

  1. Application submittal. The subdivider shall submit at least seven (7) copies of the record plat, at least three (3) copies showing proposed building, well, and septic field locations for VDH review (as applicable), and at least two (2) copies per review agency for an associated improvements plan. The Subdivision Agent may require a submittal of draft deeds at his/her discretion.
  2. Initial review. Within ten (10) days of the plat/plan submittal, the Subdivision Agent shall determine whether or not the application is complete. If the application is incomplete, the Subdivision Agent shall specify in writing to the applicant the necessary steps for completion. If the application is complete, the Subdivision Agent shall proceed with application review.
  3. Agency review. If necessary, the Subdivision Agent shall arrange for copies of the complete application to be forwarded to VDOT, VDH, RSA (or other public utility provider), the Culpeper Soil & Water Conservation District, and/or any other agency whose review is deemed necessary by the Subdivision Agent. Such agencies shall have up to forty-five (45) days to review the application and provide comments or approvals. If revisions to the application are needed to address comments, the forty-five (45) day review period shall restart from the date of the revised submittal to the agency.
    1. Traffic Impact Analysis. For subdivisions required to install a second entrance pursuant to this Ordinance, and in addition to the plat/plan submittal, a supplemental traffic impact analysis shall be submitted pursuant to § 15.2-2222.1 of the Code of Virginia and pursuant to current VDOT Traffic Impact Analysis Regulations.
    2. Dam Break Inundation Zones. For any plat lying wholly or partly within any mapped dam break inundation zone, the Subdivision Agent shall allow for review and comment on the plat by DCR pursuant to § 15.2-2243.1 of the Code of Virginia.
  4. Subdivision Agent review. If agency review is required, upon receipt of all approval recommendations from review agencies, the Subdivision Agent shall act on the record plat and any associated improvements plan within thirty-five (35) days of receipt of all review agency approvals. If agency review is not required, the Subdivision Agent shall act on the submittal within sixty (60) days of receipt of the application, or if revisions are required by the Subdivision Agent, within forty-five (45) days of receipt of the last resubmittal deemed approvable.
  5. Record plat and plan approval. Once the submittal is deemed approvable, the Subdivision Agent shall notify the subdivider of the approval, and provide his/her approval signature on the plat/plan along with the date of approval. Approval may be given only after any sureties and/or agreements have been posted as may be required by this Ordinance. As part of the approval notification, the Subdivision Agent shall also specify what steps may remain in order to obtain permits for construction. The subdivider shall also make available, upon request by the County, a digital copy of the final submittal. If the Subdivision Agent denies the plat/plan or does not act within the required review periods, the subdivider may request review by the Circuit Court pursuant to § 15.2-2260(D) or (E) of the Code of Virginia.
  6. Recordation in the Circuit Court. Any plat approved pursuant to this Ordinance shall be recorded in the Circuit Court by the owner within six (6) months of approval by the County, or shall be considered void. This period may be extended to one (1) year pursuant to § 15.2-2241(8) of the Code of Virginia. The owner shall provide the County with a copy of the receipt of recordation once completed.

Sec. 54-48. – Effect of Record Plat and Plan Approval.

Approval of a record plat and any associated improvements plan, and recordation of the record plat, shall authorize:

  1. The sale or transfer of property, if applicable;
  2. Land disturbing activities, pursuant to permit and bond requirements, in phases if applicable (if not already started pursuant to a preliminary plat/plan);
  3. The construction of the road(s), utilities, and other infrastructure, in phases, if applicable, pursuant to permit and bond requirements (if not already started pursuant to a preliminary plat/plan); and
  4. Applications for building construction, provided that any required improvements have been constructed according to the approved plans or the appropriate surety and agreements for said improvements have been submitted to the County.

Sec. 54-49 – 54-54. – Reserved.