Property owners who want to divide their land into lots for sale or development must go through a process by which the design and engineering of public improvements — streets, sidewalks, utilities, drainage, etc. — is reviewed, access to major streets is controlled, circulation between properties is coordinated, streets are named to avoid confusion, natural resources are protected, etc.
According to Nebraska State Statutes, the creation of any parcel of land 10 acres or less in area is considered a subdivision, and subject to local regulation. Title 26 of Lincoln Municipal Code regulates land subdivision and includes the requirements for subdividing land, also known as platting. Platting is a term derived from the approval process involving preliminary and final plats. Preliminary plats are the 'big picture' plans which show the proposed lot, block, and street layout including how the necessary utilities and other required infrastructure will be provided to a given development. The final plat is the instrument that once recorded with the Register of Deeds, grants the authority to the subdivider to start selling lots to prospective purchasers. In most cases, an approved preliminary plat is required before a final plat can be approved. The platting process is relatively complex and often involves professionals from different fields including civil engineers, land surveyors, land planners and attorneys. Consultation with staff is usually necessary before subdivision applications are submitted.