The Wayne County Department of Planning very often receives questions from subdivision and land development applicants in regard to the status of their application and how the process, as a whole, will work. Obtaining an approval for a subdivision / land development plan can, at times, be a frustrating process if one does not know what to expect. The more you, the applicant, can learn about the subdivision/land development process prior to submitting an application for approval, the less stressful and frustrating the process will be for you.
The process can, and very often does, involve multiple agencies and participants from both municipal and county government. The involvement of multiple participants takes time since each participant has a valuable role in the process. Having a realistic timeline of the approval process will enable you to have more satisfaction and less disappointment in obtaining approval.
Discuss with your surveyor or planning professional what can be expected prior to the development of a plan in terms of both the time the process will take and the responsibilities both you and your agent will have to take upon yourselves to ensure the process is completed in a timely manner. All surveyors and planning professionals are not equal in regard to the processing of a plan. Some will guide the entire process from start to finish and others may require your involvement to acquire plan approval and eventually record the approved plan. You, the applicant, need to understand the process completely. The responsibilities of everyone involved should be discussed with your agent to ensure the process does not inadvertently become stalled before it is completed. It is equally important that you understand what your agent expects of you as much as it is important that your agent understands what you expect from him or her.
Submission of a Plan
How a subdivision or land development plan is processed depends largely on the municipality in which the proposed action is occurring. In those municipalities that do not have an adopted Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO), an application for subdivision or land development approval will be submitted directly to the Wayne County Planning Department for processing. For a map that illustrates where the Wayne County SALDO is in effect see the Subdivision and Land Development.
For an application in a municipality that has adopted its own SALDO, application is made to the municipality. In these cases, the plan will ultimately be approved or denied by the local municipal governing body. However, the Wayne County Planning Department is still involved in the process. Section 502(b) of the PA Municipalities Planning Code requires municipalities to forward applications to the County for review and be in receipt of a report of that review from the County prior to taking action on the proposed application. Municipalities cannot take action on the application until the report from the County is received or 30 days has lapsed from the date the application was forwarded to the County.
In addition to the County Planning Department and the governing body of the municipality, other potential participants in the process may include engineers, local municipal Sewage Enforcement Officers (SEO) and municipal solicitors, depending on the complexity of the submitted application. Once again, the subdivision and land development process will take time, so try to be realistic about the process. Remember to discuss the process with your prospective agent prior to initiating development of a plan for approval so you understand what is involved and what is to be expected. In addition, the Wayne County Planning Department staff is available to answer any questions that you may have in regard to the subdivision and/or land development process. In closing, the flow chart below illustrates how a Minor Subdivision that is administered by the local municipality is processed.