WHAT IS A SUBDIVISION?
Almost all new homes are built in a subdivision and it is common to hear
the word subdivision used to describe where most of us live. When you
really think about it, that is a pretty odd way of describing where we
live. So what is a subdivision and why do we call where we live a subdivision?
word subdivision is defined as the division of a lot, tract or parcel
of land into two or more lots, tracts or parcels of land for sale or development.
The term subdivision as we have come to know it, refers to the end product
of the most common way to divide land in Ontario. Drive through any Town
or City and you will see orderly development of housing with streets designed
to accommodate many houses. The process, which leads to this orderly development,
is why we say that we live in a subdivision.
Ontario requires people who own land to have the approval of the local
municipality before that owner can slice the land into smaller units.
If the owner wants to slice the land into two or three units it may be
possible to submit the plan to the committee of adjustments. The process
is relatively easy and speedy.
If, however, an owner wants to slice a piece of land into many pieces
the Planning Act requires that the local municipality scrutinize the process
closer. An agreement will be entered into between the owner of the land
and the municipality, which will govern all aspects of the development
process. This Subdivision Agreement will endorse a building scheme including
the actual location of the pieces of land which will be created at the
conclusion of the development process. When finalized as to form, and
signed by all parties, the Agreement will be registered on the title to
the whole tract of land and will then be referred to as a Registered Plan
The whole process can take seven years (or longer) and during the proceedings
all parties will describe the land being dealt with as the subdivision.
When the marketing campaign starts it will be for the newest subdivision
in whatever municipality it is located in. Sales agents will speak to
purchasers about the advantages of living in this subdivision and eventually
the people living there refer to their home as being in a subdivision.
So the next time you refer to where you live as being in a "subdivision"
you can say it with conviction and knowledge.
This article is intended to provide general advice only and if you have
specific questions about an issue raised by this article, please contact
your real estate lawyer.
Bernie Jankowski practices real estate, corporate and estates law in Barrie,
Ontario. If you have questions about this article or real estate law in
general, write to That's The Law, c/o Toronto Sun, 333 King St. E., Toronto,
Barrister, Solicitor & Notary Public
Alliance Blvd., Suite B1,
Barrie, Ontario, Canada,
Phone: (705) 735-6975
Facsimile: (705) 735-4977
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