Platting Department

Tetra Land Services offers a turn-key service for Plat approval

Platting is the process required by the government to obtain an approval of a subdivision of real property. It is established by the Texas Local Government Code Chapter 212 (for cities) or 232 (for counties).  The Plat submission and approval process can become complex as it requires approval from your city planning department and in some cases your county as well.

For over a decade Tetra has helped clients receive approval for their Plats. Our team has experience in large commercial Plats as well as residential Plats.  Before you begin your construction project, or even prior to purchasing land for development, make sure to review any Platting requirements. Call Tetra anytime with questions regarding Platting. 

Tetra Land Services – Platting terms and guide:

What is a Plat?

A Plat is a map that is drawn to scale of a town or a section of land that has been subdivided into lots showing the location and boundaries of individual parcels with the streets, alleys, easements, and rights of use over the land of another.  The platting process allows the governing authorities to: a) Ensure that all lots comply with local regulations. b) Ensuring compliance with a land use plan established to control the development of a city and c) Ensuring that all property has access to public infrastructure such as roads.

Every governing body, such as the planning commissions of cities and counties, will require various other pieces of information to appear on the Plat. These may include:

  • Easements benefiting or encumbering a property.
  • Possible encroachments across the boundary or easement.
  • Building Lines
  • Flood zones that may impact the property.
  • Legal descriptions of the adjoining properties.
  • Original copy printed and signed on Mylar.
  • Special notes regarding restrictions or other requirements for the property.
  • Signed by the surveyor, property owner(s), lien holder(s), city planner, city engineer and county engineer
  • Filed with the county

In Houston the rules for Platting are governed by the Code of Ordinances Chapter 42 – SUBDIVISIONS, DEVELOPMENTS AND PLATTING.

The rules for Plats by the State of Texas are found here: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/LG/htm/LG.212.htm

Platting Process

A plat provides for the subdivision of land that can be legally defined (i.e. Lot 5, block 12 of the Texans Fans subdivision). Subdivision plats are required to show how land will be subdivided. The plat must reflect adequate streets and right-of-way for the project. In the City of Houston the plat is checked to assure it abides by all development rules as established by Chapter 42, the City’s land development ordinance. By law, the Planning Commission is required to approve plats that meet the requirements of Chapter 42 such as:

  • Undeveloped land must be platted before development occurs.
  • If land is platted, it can be replatted to further subdivide the existing subdivision plat or change the use of the property (i.e. from single-family to multi-family). Typically, a replat will make changes to the layout of: lots, reserves, building setback lines and easements.

The process begins at the city level.  The City of Houston illustrates the beginning of their process as follows:

City of Houston Platting Process

Is A Survey Needed?

Almost all Plats require a new survey. For example The City of Houston requires the following:

  1. The Plat is prepared and signed by a licensed surveyor.
  2. The Plat states that the surveyor preformed a survey of the property.  

The only exception to this general rule are Amending Plats.

Types Of Plats in Texas

General types of Plats:

  • Preliminary Plat:  This is a map of a more general nature for large scale development.  This plat will typically only show the approximate areas of the lots and a rough layout of the streets.  This may not be required for all projects.
  • Final Plat:  This becomes the official map filed at the county courthouse.  This map precisely describes the property and gives the exact dimensions of the lots, streets, and easements of the property.  Under state law, only a Registered Professional Land Surveyor can prepare this plat.
  • Re-Plat:  This is a special type of map prepared to change lot lines or other items shown on the original plat.  This type of plat might be used to combine small lots into larger ones, move lot lines, or cut small lots out of larger ones.
  • Subdivision plat: A graphical presentation of a particular surveyed tract of land laying out street rights-of-way, lots and reserves, building setback lines, and easements which must comply with the development requirements of the City of Houston’s, Code of Ordinances, Chapter 42. These regulations, adopted by City Council, are intended to promote the safe, orderly and healthy development of the City and its extraterritorial jurisdiction. The approved map subsequently may be filed and recorded with the appropriate county clerk’s office as the official map of record for this property.
  • Subdivision replat: Is simply a subdivision plat that further subdivides an existing subdivision plat. Typically, a replat will make changes to the layout of lots, reserves, building setback lines and easements.
  • Vacating Plat:

    (a) The proprietors of the tract covered by a plat may vacate the plat at any time before any lot in the plat is sold. The plat is vacated when a signed, acknowledged instrument declaring the plat vacated is approved and recorded in the manner prescribed for the original plat.

    (b) If lots in the plat have been sold, the plat, or any part of the plat, may be vacated on the application of all the owners of lots in the plat with approval obtained in the manner prescribed for the original plat.

    (c) The county clerk shall write legibly on the vacated plat the word “Vacated” and shall enter on the plat a reference to the volume and page at which the vacating instrument is recorded.

    (d) On the execution and recording of the vacating instrument, the vacated plat has no effect.

  • Administrative Plat: An administrative plat is a plat or replat* that is approved through an administrative action in certain circumstances without the review and approval of the Planning Commission, as allowed by the Texas Local Government Code and the Subdivision Ordinance. Administrative review is only applicable for plats of 2 lots or fewer, fronting on a previously dedicated street where no public improvements are necessary. *An administrative replat will still require a public hearing. Determination of whether a plat can be reviewed administratively will be made by the Department after plat submittal.

Classes of Plats in Houston

The following are the most common Classes of Plats in Houston:

  • Class 1 Subdivision Plat (C1) :  is only for residential and either amends a previous plat or:
    1. Creates no more than four (4) lots, each fronting on an existing street;
    2. Does not require or propose the creation of any new street;
    3. Does not require or propose the dedication of any easement for public water, wastewater collection or storm sewer lines; and
    4. Is not a replat. There is a one time submittal process for class I plats. Class I plats are not very common.
  • Class 2 Subdivision Plat (C2) & Subdivision Replat (C2R):  is a subdivision plat that:
    1. Does not require or propose the creation of any new street;
    2. Does not require or propose the dedication of any easement for public water, wastewater collection or storm sewer lines; and
    3. Can be a replat but does not require notification of adjacent property owners for replatting purposes. There is a one-time submittal process. A variance or a special exception may be sought with a Class II plat. 
  • Class 3 Plats include: Subdivision Final Plat (C3F) Class 3 Subdivision Preliminary Plat (C3P), Class 3 Subdivision Preliminary Replat (C3R)  and Class 3 Subdivision Replat Public Hearing Notification (C3N) : are required for subdivisions that require or propose the creation of any new street or the dedication of any easement for public water, wastewater collection or storm sewer lines.
    1. A class III plat is also required for a vacating plat.

    2. A Class III plat requires two submittals: a preliminary and a final. A variance or a special exception may be sought with a Class III preliminary plat/replat and all variance or special exception applications within the city limits require notification of adjacent property owners.
    3. Objections from adjacent property owners should be raised during the preliminary platting process. A preliminary plat application can be filed on land that is being considered for purchase. In many cases, final purchase may depend on the outcome of the plat submittal.                                                                                                                                                                                      
  • Other classes include: General Plan (GP), Street Dedication Plat (SP), Vacating Final (VF) and Vacating Preliminary (VP)

Public Hearings in Houston

The City of Houston’s municipal code, Sec. 42-70, sets the following:  This division establishes the procedures for the review of applications for subdivision plats, development plats, general plans and street dedication plats. As provided in this division, the director is authorized to approve Class I plats and development plats that meet the requirements of this chapter. Only the commission is authorized to approve Class II plats, Class III plats, general plans, street dedication plats and any Class I plat or development plat that the director refers to the commission. 

coh planning commission

Therefore a Class I plat will require a public hearing if a variance is requested.  Class II and Class III plats require approval of the Planning Commission. 

Tetra Land Services will represent you at any public hearings required for your plat. If a variance is required for your plat we will handle all necessary forms and notifications.  Public hearings require a mail out to  nearby residents along with signs posted to announce the date and time of the hearing. 

The Commission meets every other Thursday at 2:30 p.m. in City Hall annex chambers, 900 Bagby, unless otherwise posted. The agenda is posted three days in advance on the Department’s website at www.houstonplanning.com. Items on the agenda posted as consent are typically considered all in one grouping. Items considered separately include replats requiring a public hearing and variances. Members of the public can sign up to speak on any agenda item at the meeting. Speakers are allowed two minutes and can only speak once per item (if the item is deferred, speakers must choose at which meeting to speak).

The Tetra Land Services difference

  • RPLS with 40+ years experience
  • Open lines of communication
  • Handles Platting process
  • Commerical and Residential services
  • No additional charges for rush jobs
  • Handles Plats throughout Texas
  • Dedicate, professional field crew
  • Will meet with

Get in touch with us

Tetra Land Services is a full service commercial and residential land surveying company. We are HUB certified by the State of Texas and TXDot pre-certified. At Tetra Surveys, we understand that accountability and a commitment to expedient service is vital to our customers. Please contact us any time regarding our land surveying, platting, appraisal or other services.

2109 Lexington Houston, Texas 77098

713-462-6100

jvn@tsatx.com

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