Land Development 101

We combine creativity, technical knowledge and common sense in the transformation of raw land into a proposed development. With decades of experience in the land development and engineering industries, we’re very acquainted with the proper procedures that need to be followed when it comes to developing land for our clients. By implementing the few but important steps listed in detail below, we ensure a smooth and efficient land development project. From creating a preliminary plat to submitting your final plat, we cover everything and lay it out step by step.

A general outline of the Land Development Process is listed below. Note: This is not an exhaustive list and a city/county’s ordinances vary on the design requirements and timing of this process.

1. Create a Preliminary Plat.

Develop a conceptual site plan with an initial evaluation of the public works facilities needed to serve the site. The amount of information required on the Preliminary Plat varies from city to city so be sure to provide all of the required info for your area.

a) Requires a reasonably accurate property description – this could be a meets and bounds description from the warranty deed.

b) On the property description show layout of the proposed lots and streets

c) An initial drainage analysis with a layout of the probable storm sewer system including detention facility, if needed.

d) Need a street layout showing any special traffic facilities such as signalized intersections and traffic calming devices.

e) Need calculation of traffic volumes generated by the proposed site.

f) Analysis of the water requirements for domestic, use, fire protection and irrigations and a preliminary layout of the proposed water system improvements such as water mains, fire hydrants locations.

g) Analysis of the wastewater generated by the proposed site and a preliminary layout of the proposed improvements such as: gravity mains, manholes, lift stations, force mains.

h) Submit the Preliminary Plat to the city’s Development Review Committee (DRC) to the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z), City Council and/or the County Commissioner’s Court.** (Upon review, all city comments are addressed with appropriate modifications before resubmittal. Note: In scheduling a project, there should be sufficient time to address review comments. The amount of information and expected detail varies from city to city.)

i) Upon approval by the governing body, the developer may proceed with the final plat process.

2. Develop Your Final Plat

This will be a detailed depiction of the site layout geometry and the layout of any public right-of-way and public easements.

a)     Must be based on field surveys on the site including boundary, topography, and tree surveys.

b)    Must be accompanied by a complete set of detailed construction plans for all of the public works improvements: water, sewer, streets, drainage, etc.

 The set of Construction Plans may need to include:

  • Cover sheet
  • Copy of the Final Plat
  • Detailed construction notes
  • Drainage analysis of existing conditions
  • Drainage analysis of proposed conditions
  • Site grading plans
  • Street paving plan and profile sheets
  • Sanitary sewer plan and profile sheets
  • Water plan sheets
  • Storm drain plan and profile sheets
  • Detention pond design sheets
  • Sanitary sewer lift station plans, if needed
  • Paving, signage marking and striping plan
  • Traffic control plan
  • Erosion control plan
  • Detail sheets of construction plans
  • Detail sheets of city construction standards

Note: It is not unusual for a single set of plans to contain 40-100 sheets. The number of sheets is dependent on the size and shape of the development.

c)     Must be accompanied by a Traffic Impact Analysis if the traffic volumes exceed the limits established by the city.

3. Submit the Final Plat

Submit your Final Plat to the city’s Development Review Committee (DRC), to the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z), City Council and/or the County Commissioner’s Court.**

(Upon review, all city comments are addressed with appropriate modifications before resubmittal. Note: In scheduling a project, there should be sufficient time to address review comments. The amount of information and expected detail varies from city to city.)

4. Advertising, Bidding, and Awards (selecting the contractors).

5. Construction of the public works improvements.

6. Final inspection of the public works improvements by the city

7. Submission of record drawings, performance and payment bonds, affidavit of all bills paid, and other documents required by the city/county.

8. Letter of acceptance by the city.

9. File Final Plat with the county.

**Check with each city to determine its schedule for submittals, reviews, Planning and Zoning meetings and City Council meetings.