Purpose of Preliminary Plat Approval Process
The purpose of a preliminary plat is to establish lot design for a subdivision, establish utility layout and street and intersection design, and to approve waivers from the subdivision regulations. This ensures that the final plat design, if final platting is accomplished in phases, is consistent with the overall plan for the area. Outside agency review is included at this stage so that utility and street issues are addressed early in the development process and so the subdivider can be assured of final approval at the time of construction. Preliminary plat approval by the City Council does not qualify the plat for recording.
A preliminary plat document is used primarily for the development of large agricultural tracts. The term “preliminary” indicates that it is the proposed design of the subdivision and may be subject to change. However, significant changes must be approved through resubmitting a modified preliminary plat. Preliminary plats indicate the proposed public infrastructure, including streets, storm sewers, sanitary sewers, grading, and stormwater detention facilities and generally depict existing adjacent topography, infrastructure, and show proposed lot configurations. Preliminary plats are not recorded and are not the legal document used for sale of lots, but rather are used to allow for a comprehensive review of the proposed development by all affected agencies. These plats are sent for outside review to several agencies and require the approval of the Plan Commission and City Council.
Requirements for the Preliminary Plat Application
Preliminary plats are submitted in the form and with the contents specified in Chapter 2 of the City of Champaign Manual of Practice (see Preliminary Plat Application Worksheet for additional information). The Manual of Practice also specifies the number and size of plat submission copies necessary at the different stages of the review process.
The subdivider will submit a complete application for review of the preliminary plat to the Planning Director. The application will include a written request for any necessary waivers and justification for those waivers based on the criteria contained in the City of Champaign Municipal Code Sec. 31-106.
Staff & Outside Agency Review of the Preliminary Plat
The City reviews the preliminary plat and waiver requests for conformity to the Subdivision Regulations and consistency with the Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Ordinance, building code, and other applicable City laws and regulations.
The City Engineer reviews the preliminary plat and waiver requests for conformity to flood control and stormwater management regulations, the Manual of Practice, and generally accepted engineering practices.
Currently, the Development Services Team (DST) conducts the majority of the subdivision review. DST consists of the Planning Director, Assistant Planning Director, two other Planners, Public Works Director, Assistant City Engineer for Development, Civil Engineer, Deputy City Attorney, and Deputy City Manager for Development.
The Planning Director forwards copies of the preliminary plat to designated agencies. Outside agencies will submit written comments concerning the preliminary plat to the Planning Director within 10 days of receipt unless granted a longer period by statute or by the Planning Director.
All comments will be forwarded to the subdivider.
Typical outside agency review consists of the City Fire Chief, Building Safety Division, Drainage District, Urbana- Champaign Sanitary District, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, Champaign Unit 4 School District, power company, cable company, water company, phone company, Champaign County Emergency Services Disaster Agency, and METCAD.
Plan Commission’s Role
Following the external and internal review period, the subdivider sends revised copies of the preliminary plat, if necessary, to the Planning Director for consideration by the Plan Commission. The Planning Director also submits a written report to the Plan Commission that includes the subdivider’s request for waivers and their justifications, background information, comments and recommendations from the City Engineer, comments from outside agencies and other interested parties, and a general recommendation including appropriate conditions to any waiver request.
The Plan Commission will make a recommendation to the City Council within 90 days of the submittal of a complete application for the preliminary plat, or the filing of the last waiver request by the subdivider, whichever date is later. The Plan Commission may request additional information from the subdivider if necessary to evaluate the plat or waiver requests.
If the Plan Commission recommends disapproval of the preliminary plat, the Planning Director will notify the subdivider.
City Council’s Role
The Planning Director will forward the plat and Plan Commission recommendations to the City Manager for inclusion on the City Council agenda. The City Council will approve or disapprove the plat, including waiver requests, within 30 days after the City Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting following the Plan Commission’s action.
If the City Council disapproves a preliminary plat, the Planning Director will notify the subdivider within 14 days of Council’s action.
City Council may approve an extension of time within which to seek approval of a final plat or to seek reapproval of the preliminary plat without Plan Commission reconsideration if the Council finds it is in the public’s best interest to do so. Such extension may be granted at the time of approval.
Lapsing of Preliminary Plat Approval
The applicant has to apply for approval of a final plat within one year after City Council approval of the preliminary plat. If the applicant does not seek final plat approval within one year after City Council approval, the preliminary plat approval will lapse, unless the time period is extended in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 31 of the Municipal Code.
Preliminary Plat Application
Among other information, the completed application must include the names of owners including a Statement of Beneficial Interest, review fees as required in the City of Champaign Municipal Code, Chapter 26, Sections 17 and 17.1, a Waiver Request Letter including justification for the waiver items in accordance with the Subdivision Regulations, a Final Plat Phasing Plan containing an estimated time frame that each phase of development will be submitted for final plat approval, the number of copies and the sheet size for preliminary submittals as required by Section 2.03 of the Manual of Practice, and identification of the owner’s representatives.
The subdivider or developer will submit 24 copies of the preliminary plat together with the required application items for review to the Planning Director. The submittal copies shall be in the form of full-size (24 in. x 36 in.) copies of the preliminary plat. Exact size of the drawings may vary somewhat due to office production facilities.
Preliminary Plat Requirements
A preliminary plat should include, but is not limited to, the following information:
Name of subdivision; name and addresses of the subdivision’s owner, subdivider, and engineer; standard engineering scale not greater than 1 in. = 100 ft.; north arrow; date of preparation, including the most recent revision; subdivision boundaries clearly indicated graphically, in addition to a written legal description; a small vicinity map depicting the location of the subdivision with respect to arterial and/or collector streets in the vicinity; and gross acreage of the subdivision.
The names, location, right-of-way, and pavement widths of all existing public and/or private streets within 200 ft. of the proposed subdivision, showing any existing vehicular access points, private streets, and driveways; the nearest arterial street access point within 1/3 mile will be shown on the vicinity map; the location and size of all existing sanitary sewers, water mains, storm drainage facilities, other underground facilities and all related rights-of-way and easements located in or within 200 ft. of the proposed subdivision (larger adjacent areas should be shown to the extent that said infrastructure system has a functional impact on or by the platted area); the topography by contour intervals of not more than 2 ft. related to mean sea level; the Drainage District(s) within which the proposed subdivision lies, or is contiguous with, or if the proposed subdivision is not in a drainage district, so state; the location and identification of buildings, railroads, overhead transmission lines, pipe lines, excavations, bridges, culverts and related items within the tract and related rights-of-way or easements; areas within the proposed subdivision identified as 100- year floodplains, floodways, and other known areas subject to flooding; and the location of existing streams, rivers, watercourses, designated wetlands, known field tiles, lakes, ponds, and impoundments within 500 ft. of the proposed subdivision and the related rights-of-way and easements.
The names, locations, rights-of- way, and pavement widths of proposed streets and scale dimensions shown, numbered in a manner that indicates the initial proposed phasing plan, if any; the location of proposed watercourses or impoundments, including stream relocations, showing normal water levels and direction of flow; and proposed sanitary disposal (public or private) and stormwater systems including location of drains, water supply (public or well), and related rights-of-way and easements.
Distribution of Plats for Final Approval
Following the review by DST and other agencies, and notification from the Planning Director that the preliminary plat has been approved by City Staff, additional copies of the preliminary plat shall be submitted to the Planning Department for Plan Commission action and for City Council final approval. After approval by the Plan Commission and the City Council, additional copies of the original signed Preliminary Plat will be submitted to the Planning Department for distribution.
Plan Commission Submittal
Following final revisions, the subdivider will transmit to the Planning Department 15 half-size (11 in. x 17 in.) copies of the Preliminary Plat, signed by the owner, developer, and engineer for consideration by the Plan Commission.
City Council Submittal
Following the formal recommendation of the Plan Commission, the subdivider will submit 13 half-size (11 in. x 17 in.) signed copies of the Preliminary Plat for consideration by the City Council.
Submittal for Signature & Distribution
Following approval by the Plan Commission and the City Council, the subdivider will submit 3 full-size (24 in. x 36 in.) and 3 half-size (11 in. x 17 in.) signed originals of the Preliminary Plat. These submittals will then be signed by the Secretary of the Plan Commission and the Mayor, in the signature blocks required by Section 2.02-A-10 of the Manual of Practice. The signed originals will then be distributed to the subdivider, various City departments, and any applicable outside agencies.