Subdividing Property

Subdividing Property

An Overview of the Process
Processing the Application
Development Permit
Rural Subdivisions
Financial Obligations of the Developer
Financial Commitments of the Developer

Part I: An Overview of the Process
The St. John's Development Regulations defines subdivision to mean the dividing of any land, whether in single or joint ownership, into two or more pieces for the purpose of development.

Submitting the Application
Any person wishing to subdivide property in the City of St. John's should contact the development officer, Planning and Development Division, third floor, St. John's City Hall and complete the applicable application form. Any person may make an application to subdivide property. Where the Applicant is not the property owner, the property owner's authorization signature must appear on the application form before it can be officially accepted for processing by the Planning and Development Division.

The development officer can advise Applicants on the information that must accompany an application before it can be officially accepted for processing. Detailed information on requirements for subdivision applications can be obtained by reviewing the City document entitled Subdivision Design and Construction Procedures. A hard copy of this document is available from the Planning and Development Division, third floor, St. John's City Hall.

As a minimum, the Applicant must provide information on the location and current use of the property, the lot area and frontage, access, and the proposed land-use of the subdivision. For larger subdivisions where an internal road network and/or municipal services are to be constructed, the Applicant is required to submit information on the proposed layout of internal streets and lots, the proposed municipal services, including the method of water supply and the generation of sanitary and storm sewer, and information on proposed public open spaces if applicable.

Many factors are considered in designing a subdivision, including topography, surrounding development, natural vegetation, natural drainage courses, legal surveys, and servicing systems. To ensure all aspects have been considered, it is recommended that the Applicant make use of design professionals such as surveyors, engineers or land-use planners.

Processing the Application
The development officer coordinates the processing of applications by City departments and other agencies.

Development Permit
Subdivision applications involving nine or fewer lots (excluding the homestead lot) are approved by the development officer. ‘Homestead lot’ is defined by the St. John’s Development Regulations to mean a residential building lot on which is located a dwelling and comprising an area of land similar to standard building lots in similarly zoned areas of the City.

Subdivision applications involving:

  • Ten or more lots, excluding the homestead lot;  - construction of an internal road network;
  • The extension of municipal services; and    - three or more lots in an unserviced area;

are referred to the St. John’s Council for consideration for approval in the form of a Development Agreement. The Development Agreement, which establishes the terms of approval, must be approved by Council and signed by both the Applicant and City officials before any site work can be carried out on the subdivision.

Throughout the application review process, the development officer maintains communication with the Applicant.

Rural Subdivisions
The Development Regulations specify that residential subdivisions of three or more lots in an area which does not have Municipal water and sewer services require the preparation of a Land-Use Assessment Report (LUAR). This study, prepared at the expense of the Applicant, provides information on the possible impacts of the development and what measures will be taken to mitigate any impacts. Terms of Reference for an LUAR have to be approved by the City before any work on the study begins. The development officer can provide more information on the preparation of the report.

Persons intending to make application for an unserviced subdivision should be aware that development of such subdivisions must be undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the St. John’s Rural Sanitation By-Law. This By-Law requires a development which will utilize on-site services to install an artesian (drilled) well as the source of water.

Further Information and Staff Assistance
For larger and/or more complex Subdivision Applications, the Development Officer may arrange a meeting for the Applicant with the City’s Development Team. The Team is an Inter-Departmental Staff Committee which is available to meet with persons, on a confidential basis, who are interested in developing property in St. John’s and may wish to discuss the proposal before actually making an application. The Team is also available to meet with persons who have made an application and wish to discuss the progress of their application.

Part II:  Financial Obligations of the Developer
Subdivisions with Municipal Services
The Subdivision Developer is responsible for the cost of all work associated with the Subdivision Development. Where a serviced Subdivision will involve the installation of water and sewer lines and/or the construction of an internal road network, the work done by the Developer is defined in two categories

1. Phase 1 work involves the installation of all water mains, hydrants, sanitary and storm sewer systems and all appurtenances, including the construction of all Street rights-of-way to sub-grade and the installation of necessary utilities as defined in the Development Regulations.

2. Phase 2 work consists of all work relating to the installation of Subdivision Improvements as defined in the Development Regulations, such as curbs, gutters, catch basins, sidewalks and Streets, including survey monuments, granular material, asphalt pavement and improvements to open space.

Before the Developer receives the City’s approval to commence Phase 1 work, adequate security to cover all costs of Phase 2 work must be submitted by the Developer to the City's Director of Financial Services in the form of currency or an irrevocable Letter of Credit.

The value of the Phase 2 Security will be calculated by the City’s Engineering Design and Construction Management Division. The Phase 2 Security can be released by the City on a proportional basis as the Phase 2 Work is completed to the satisfaction of the City. If a Developer intends to seek Building Permits prior to the acceptance of Phase 1 Work by the City, the Developer must provide Security to the Director of Financial Services in the amount estimated by the City’s Engineering Design and Construction Management Division to complete the Phase 1 Work. Phase 1 Security is not required to be submitted if it is not the intention of the Developer to request Building Permits prior to the acceptance by the City of Phase 1 Work.

Financial Commitments of the Developer
Prior to City approval being granted to commence work on any Subdivision, all financial commitments of the Developer must be met. These may include:

A)  Subdivision Application Fee

B)  Development Fee

C)  Civic Improvement Assessments
All outstanding Civic Improvement Assessments registered against the property to be developed, as  recorded by the City's Department of Financial Services, must be paid by the Developer before any work  commences on the site. Such assessments will be for items such as water, sanitary and storm sewer  systems, street improvements and sidewalks.

D)  Trunk Sewer Assessments
If the Subdivision is located within the drainage basin of a Sanitary Trunk Sewer  for which there is an  assessment registered, then the Trunk Sewer Assessment must be paid prior to the applicable permits  being issued by the City. Trunk Sewer Assessments are based on gross land area, and are calculated at a fixed rate per hectare serviced.

Further Information and Staff Assistance
Specific questions pertaining to the fees and/or assessments applicable to a subdivision application can be directed to the development officer, Planning and Development Division, who will contact the applicable City departments to obtain the necessary information.

If you require any further information on applications for Subdivision, please contact:

Development Officer
Planning and Development Divsion
Department of Planning, Engineering & Regulatory Services
St. John’s City Hall
P.O. Box 908
St. John's, NL, A1C 5M2
Phone: (709) 576-6192  Fax: (709) 576-8625
E-mail: planning@stjohns.ca