It is strongly recommended to contact the Department of Planning & Zoning before embarking on the subdivision process. There are several "moving pieces," so to speak, conditions, and situations which may impact the ability to subdivide or the process itself. Planning & Zoning is the best source of this information and can help guide you in the process. The fees and required submittal documents vary by the type of subdivision being performed.
Once you have contacted Planning & Zoning and have reasonable assurance about the subdivision process, you should contact a licensed land surveyor and/or professional engineer (if improvements plans are needed). The county cannot recommend any particular surveyor or engineer, but we do advise that local professionals typically prove to be more knowledgeable of local conditions and procedures. The surveyor will survey your land and draw subdivision plats to submit to the county for review. If necessary, the engineer will produce improvements plans to submit along with the plats. The Virginia Department of Transportation must review and approve all subdivisions of land, even if they are served by private roads. It is therefore strongly recommended to contact VDOT prior to submitting plats to the county. Additionally, the Virginia Department of Health must review all subdivisions which involve private well and septic drainfield installations. It is the responsibility of the landowner to submit this application to VDH along with any supporting documents. If the subdivision will be served by public utilities via Rapidan Service Authority, Town of Orange, or Town of Gordonsville, they will review the plats as well.
Once accepted for review, the county will determine if the plats are in compliance with the county's laws (i.e. the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Ordinance). If they are determined to be compliant, the plats will be transmitted to the necessary review agencies for approval. If the plats are not compliant, you will receive comments from the county about necessary corrections. In these cases, the landowner should work with the surveyor to address the deficiencies and then resubmit the plats to the county. It is important to note that subdivision plats involving private roads must be approved by the Orange County Planning Commission before a plat submittal will be accepted by the Department for review.
Once all other agencies have reviewed and approved the plats, the county provides the last and final approval. You will then be notified that the plats are approved and are available for pickup to be recorded in the Orange County Circuit Court. Approved plats must be recorded within 6 months or they become void; proof of recordation to the Department of Planning & Zoning is required. Recorded plats are transmitted to the Commissioner of Revenue so that the new/revised tax parcels can be assigned values and will begin being taxed accordingly.