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Current Planning

Subdivision & Platting Self Help

More Questions? Contact the Zoning Division at 343-7943

What is Platting?

A Plat is a map of a surveyed division of land. The platting, or subdivision, process is the process of of creating different lot(s) or tract(s) out of existing lot(s) or tract(s).

What is a Preliminary Plat?

A Preliminary Plat is a map showing a proposed subdivision which has been submitted to the Platting Authority. Information included with the preliminary plat may be items such as:

  • location map
  • topography information
  • preliminary location of water, sanitary sewer and storm drains
  • general location of existing streams, lakes, swamps, drainage, course and flood plain areas
  • dedication of right-of-ways, easements and constructed roads within and abutting the plat area
  • schools, other public uses and wetlands
  • Watershed sign-off
  • any other information of importance or as required by AMC 21.15

What is a Final Plat?

A Final Plat means a map of a subdivision of land made up in final form ready for approval and filing.

What is a Short Plat?

A Short Plat refers to the Abbreviated Platting Procedure, not a map. This generally includes subdividing a single tract, parcel or lot into 8 or fewer tracts or lots; moving or eliminating a lot line on an existing plat.

What determines the standards that plats must meet?

Plats must conform to the underlying zoning (lot size, density, use, etc.) and to the subdivision standards listed in Title 21 (Land Use Regulations). Subdivision standards include such issues as the design of streets, alleys, street names, block length, lot dimensions, road access, buffering and landscaping, drainage, erosion control, parking and sidewalks.

Over the years the subdivision regulations and other parts of Title 21 have changed. Many of the older plats do not necessarily conform to existing code and are not required to do so unless they are replatted. Development on an old plat can occur at any time.

What is the Platting Board?

The Platting Board is a body of nine community members appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Assembly. Public hearings are part of the platting process and are required before the Board can decide on a plat application variance, vacation or proposed change to the subdivision regulations. This Board, staffed by the Planning Department, meets the first Wednesday evening of each month in the Assembly Chambers.

What are the powers and duties of the Platting Board?

  • Hear and decide applications for preliminary plat approval.
  • Hear and decide applications for final plats (if final plat differs substantially from the preliminary plat)
  • Hear and decide applications for vacations of dedicated public areas such as utility easements and road rights-of-ways.
  • Hear and decide applications for variances from the subdivision regulations.
  • Review and recommend to the Assembly all proposed amendments to Title 21 concerning subdivisions or proposed regulations to implement or interpret these subdivision standards and subdivision agreements.
  • Hear and decide on requests for modifying prior conditions of plat approval.

What are the steps to the platting process? 

  • Property owner(s) determines whether the property is capable of being subdivided or recombined to form larger lot(s).
  • Property owner(s) makes application to the Planning Department, Zoning and Platting division. This person is now referred to as the petitioner.
  • Public hearing notices for platting applications are sent out by the Planning Department to residents adjacent to the petitioner's property and to the community council where the property is located.
  • Notice of the Platting Board's public hearing is published in the newspaper.
  • Comments on plats from the public and pertinent departments are returned to the Platting staff. Staff makes recommendations and sends the application to the Platting Board.
  • The Platting Board holds a required public hearing and accepts the plat with conditions, rejects the plat, or returns the plat for redesign and modification to address specific concerns of the Board.
  • Any adversely affected party may appeal the Board's decision within 15 days of the Board's action.
  • The petitioner has 18 months to finalize the plat.
  • A final plat is submitted and the staff checks to ensure that conditions of approval have been met. The plat is routed to Public Works for checking, then returned to the Planning Department for further processing, including receipt of the Department of Health and Environmental Protection approval concerning safe and adequate water and sewage treatment, tax certificate, current certificate to plat (land title report), and signatures of various officials. When completed it is ready for recording at the State of Alaska District Recorder.
  • Once the property is subdivided (final plat recorded), lots are available for sale.

Property owner(s) determines whether the property is capable of being subdivided or recombined to form larger lot(s).

  • Property owner(s) makes application to the Planning Department, Zoning and Platting division. This person is now referred to as the petitioner.
  • Public hearing notices for platting applications are sent out by the Planning Department to residents adjacent to the petitioner's property and to the community council where the property is located.
  • Notice of the Platting Board's public hearing is published in the newspaper.
  • Comments on plats from the public and pertinent departments are returned to the Platting staff. Staff makes recommendations and sends the application to the Platting Board.
  • The Platting Board holds a required public hearing and accepts the plat with conditions, rejects the plat, or returns the plat for redesign and modification to address specific concerns of the Board.
  • Any adversely affected party may appeal the Board's decision within 15 days of the Board's action.
  • The petitioner has 18 months to finalize the plat.
  • A final plat is submitted and the staff checks to ensure that conditions of approval have been met. The plat is routed to Public Works for checking, then returned to the Planning Department for further processing, including receipt of the Department of Health and Environmental Protection approval concerning safe and adequate water and sewage treatment, tax certificate, current certificate to plat (land title report), and signatures of various officials. When completed it is ready for recording at the State of Alaska District Recorder.
  • Once the property is subdivided (final plat recorded), lots are available for sale.

What is the Public Notification Process for platting?

After the application has been submitted to the Platting Section, copies of the application are sent to the:

  • Community Council within which the property lies and any Community Council within 500 feet
  • Health and Human Services Department
  • Traffic Engineer
  • Code Compliance Section
  • Municipal Engineer
  • Fire Prevention Division
  • State Department of Transportation & Public Facilities
  • Anchorage School District
  • All public utilities

If you have specific concerns relating to parks, traffic, water runoff, etc., contact the department responsible for reviewing the plat. Remember, these departments are reviewing hundreds of plats. They can't be familiar with all areas of the community. Your comments could be very helpful. Staff evaluations of the plat or rezone would then also include community concerns.

Notice for the application for a preliminary plat or a case before the Planning and Zoning Commission is sent to the owners of property within 500 feet of the proposed case or to owners of the nearest 50 parcels of land, whichever is the greater number. If you receive notice in the mail, this gives you an opportunity to express your concerns. Submitting your comments in writing to the Planning Department in advance of the public hearing will help ensure that your comments are distributed to Board or Commission members before the hearing. This gives members an opportunity to do further research regarding your comments. Even if you have already submitted written comments it can also be helpful to testify at the hearing. This gives the Board or Commission members a chance to ask questions.

While you may believe you are affected by this subdivision, you will not receive notification of the hearing unless you own property within 500 feet of the proposed plat.

What is the Platting Appeal Process?

The Platting Board may approve, approve with conditions, or deny a subdivision. Any person(s) (an aggrieved party) may appeal a decision of the Platting Board. The specific rules for filing an appeal are in Title 21 (Land Use Regulations). The appeal must be filed with the Municipal Clerk within 20 days of the Platting Board's action and on a form provided by the Clerk. If the appeal is timely, the Planning Department compiles a packet of information to include the staff analysis report, the plat application, etc. The appellant must arrange for preparation of a verbatim transcript of the Board's meeting at his/her expense. When the packet is ready, the appellant has 7 days to pick up the packet and from pick up time, 15 days to prepare a written report indicating the allegations of error. The Planning Department then responds, in writing, to the brief. The appellant has 10 days to file a reply brief. The Board of Adjustment hearing is not an "open" hearing; however, the hearing is open to the public and is publicly noticed although no public testimony is taken.  It is heard only on the record, which means that only those documents prepared in the packet, the appellant's brief, and the staff's response will be considered. If there is any new information the case will go back to the Platting Board.

    • Current Planning
    • Section Supervisor: Erika McConnell
    • 4700 Elmore Road, Anchorage, AK 99507
    • 907 343-7943