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Frequently Asked Questions

The material in this question and answer series is for your information only. It is not legal advice and is not designed to be used in place of legal advice. You should consult your own attorney for legal advice. The St. Joseph Legal Department provides this series to provide a general summary of procedures concerning violations of city ordinances in the City of St. Joseph, Missouri. It is issued to inform generally, not to advise of specific rights. As with any general information, the answers given here may not specifically apply to you.
What is a subdivision or plat?

A subdivision or plat is one or more parcels of land that have gone through the subdivision process outlined in Chapter 26 and are recorded as a “lot of record” with Buchanan County. This creates a recorded “plat” or map of a property showing important information like property lines, utility and access easements, drainage, etc. Properties are typically required to be platted for development and permits to be issued for any project on that piece of land. Properties that are not platted would need to go through the subdivision or platting process.

A common misunderstanding is hearing the word “subdivision” can bring to mind large residential subdivision developments. This is not usually what the city means when using this word. In this case, a subdivision simply means the division of land (in many cases only one piece of property) into legal lots, blocks, tracts, or parcels. Neither is incorrect, but one specifically refers to the process utilized by the city.

Show All Answers

1. What is Planning & Zoning?
2. What applications & permits does Planning & Zoning administer?
3. What is a subdivision or plat?
4. What is the subdivision process or platting?
5. How Do I combine, split, or adjust my property lines?
6. Does the city provide surveying services?
7. What is zoning?
8. What is rezoning?
9. How do I find my property’s zoning?
10. What does zoning determine?
11. How do I get a fence permit and what are the city’s rules for fences?
12. How do I get a pool permit and what are the city’s rules for pools?
13. How do I get a garage/shed/etc. permitted?
14. How do I get a sign permit?
15. What is a site plan?
16. What is the Zoning Board of Adjustment?
17. What is a variance or exception?
18. What is the Planning Commission?
19. What is the Downtown Review Board?