What is a "Lot Split?" When do you need one?
A "lot split" is simply to subdivide one piece of property into two pieces of property. That means you have a parcel of land (i.e. 5 acres) and you wish to cut or subdivide a portion of that land out for sale or deed to someone (i.e. 1 acre). These "splits" are accomplished through approval by the Planning Department, by submitting a current survey by a Florida certified land surveyor and the completed application with necessary data. The surveyor draws a map of the "parent parcel" using the present legal description and prepared another drawing showing the proposed division, creating two new "lots" (with appropriate new legal descriptions) fronting public or private streets. If the application and survey meet the criteria established by the Code and Plan, the documents are recorded with the Clerk of Court after appropriate signatures have been obtained. Thereafter, these lots may be sold or deeded as planned.
What are the issues with lot splits and the criteria for approval?
Walton County adopted a "land use" map in the late 1990's. That map provides guidelines for allowed uses, density (number of homes per acre), and intensities (concentration of the use as related to the area). The land uses prescribe maximum allowed number of homes per acre and the lot splits are subject to those requirements (i.e. Rural Village has a maximum allowed "density" of 2 units per acre, so a person must have a minimum of one (1) acre before they can subdivide into two (2) half-acre lots.) Further, complications may arise with onsite wetlands, the property being within a Flood Zone established by FEMA, lack of public/private streets to the property, and so on. These conditions or criteria are the reason a person should meet with the Planning Department before attempting to split or subdivide their property.
Is there an exception to the rules?
The guidelines of the Walton County Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code are the regulatory language the staff must use to ensure lot splits are compliant with the current laws. However, there are established exceptions to density requirements for immediate family members as provided by the Florida Statutes. It is necessary to meet with staff prior to subdivision of land for a family member to ensure that the newly created parcels meet the requirements and thereafter may obtain a building permit.