Chapter 1 - General Provisions


This ordinance shall be known and may be cited as the "Subdivision Control Ordinance of Plymouth, Indiana."


This ordinance is deemed necessary for the purpose of promoting the public health, safety, comfort and general welfare of persons living within the corporate boundaries of the City of Plymouth and within its jurisdictional area; to guide future growth and development in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan; to encourage orderly and beneficial development; to protect and conserve the value of land; to establish reasonable standards of design and procedures for subdivision and resubdivision; in order to further the orderly layout and use of land; and to insure proper legal descriptions and monumenting of subdivided land.

It shall further be the purpose to avoid scattered and uncontrolled subdivision of land that would result in an excessive expenditure of public funds for the supply of community services; for the establishment of reasonable standards of design and minimum requirements for the creation, installation and improvement of physical facilities which are, or will be, maintained for the benefit of the general public; for the prevention of the pollution of air and water; provision of drainage facilities and the safeguarding of the water table; the encouragement of wise use and management of natural beauty and topography, and the value of land; for the administration of these regulations by defining the powers and duties of approval authorities; and the manner and form of making, filing and processing of any plat.


It is declared to be the policy of the City of Plymouth to consider the subdivision of land and subsequent development of the subdivided plat as subject to the control of the City pursuant to the official Comprehensive Plan of the City for the orderly, planned, efficient, and economical development of the City of Plymouth and the jurisdictional area.

Land to be subdivided shall be of such character that it can be used safely for building purposes without danger to health or peril from fire, flood, or other menace, and land shall not be subdivided until proper provision has been made for drainage, water supply, sewerage, schools, recreation facilities, and other elements of a viable community.

The existing and proposed public improvements shall conform to and be properly related to the proposals of the Comprehensive Plan, and capital budget program of the City of Plymouth.

It shall be the policy to guide major development of land and consideration by encouraging the following: 1) A more useful pattern of open space and recreation Areas and, if permitted as part of the subdivision, more convenience in the location of accessory commercial uses, industrial uses, and services; 2) A development pattern which preserves and utilizes natural topography and geologic features, scenic vistas, trees, and other vegetation, and prevents the disruption of natural drainage patterns; 3) A more efficient use of land resulting in substantial savings through shorter utility lines and streets; 4) A development pattern in harmony with land use density, transportation facilities, and community facility objectives of the Comprehensive Plan.


For the purpose of this ordinance, the work "Subdivision" shall mean land, vacant or improved, both residential and nonresidential, which is divided for the purpose of sale, lease, or development, whether by deed, metes and bounds description, devise, intestacy, lease, map, plat or other recorded instrument.

Within the corporate limits of the City of Plymouth, the division of a single lot, tract, or parcel of land into two or more lots, tracts, or parcels, any one of which is less than five (5) acres, for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of transfer of ownership for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes, shall be considered subdivision of land and require approval by the Plan Commission as a Minor or Major Subdivision in accordance with the provisions of this ordinance; provided, however, this definition shall not include the division of a single parcel into lots five (5) acres or greater in area, or that this definition shall not include divisions of land for agricultural purposes only, not involving any new street(s) or easement(s) of access; or the sale or exchange of parcels between adjoining lot owners that do not create additional building sites.

Within the 2-mile jurisdictional area of Plymouth, the division of a single lot, tract, or parcel of land into two or more lots, tracts, or parcels, any one of which is less than five (5) acres, for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of transfer of ownership for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes, shall be considered subdivision of land and require approval by both the Plymouth Plan Commission and the Marshall County Plan Commission as a Minor or Major Subdivision, in accordance with the provisions of this ordinance; provided, however, this definition shall not include the first two recorded lots, less than five (5) acres in area subsequently divided from a lot, tract, or parcel of land recorded in the office of the Marshall County Recorder prior to July 1, 1974; the number of lots eligible for exemption under this paragraph shall not be increased by subsequent changes in ownership since the number of exempt lots shall run with the land and not ownership. This definition shall apply after two (2) lots have been divided by any person, or persons, from the parcel as described on record prior to July 1, 1974; provided further that this definition shall not include the division of a single parcel into lots five (5) acres or greater in area or that this definition shall not include divisions of land for agricultural purposes only, not involving any new street or easement of access, or the sale of lots or exchange of parcels between adjoining lot owners that do not create additional building sites.


A Minor Subdivision shall create no more than five lots, counting the balance of the original parcel as one of the five; and further providing that the subdivision of said parcel shall not involve the creation of any new street, either public or private. The balance of the parcel of land, or any lot created within the Minor Subdivision shall be further subdivided only as a Major Subdivision, with this provision also being applicable to any subsequent change in ownership.


A Major Subdivision will be required when six or more lots, counting the balance of the original parcel as one of the six, is created. Regardless of the number of lots involved, creation of any new street in the division of land shall also be by means of a Major Subdivision. In addition, a Major Subdivision plat shall be required when any parcel of land previously divided as a Minor Subdivision is further divided.


The Subdivision control regulations contained herein shall apply to all subdivisions of land within the corporate limits of the City of Plymouth and within its jurisdictional area.


In their interpretation and application, the provisions of these regulations shall be held to be the minimum requirements for the promotion of the public health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of Plymouth and the surrounding area.

The regulations contained herein are not intended to interfere with, or abrogate, other provisions of law; where these regulations impose restrictions different from those imposed by other provisions, whichever provisions are more restrictive or impose higher standards shall apply.

If any part or provision of these regulations or application thereof, to any person or circumstances, is adjudged invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, such judgement shall be confined in its operation to the part, provision, or application directly involved in all controversy in which such judgement shall have been rendered and shall not affect or impair the validity of the remainder of these regulations or the application thereof, to other persons or circumstances. The Common Council hereby declares that it would have enacted the remainder of these regulations even without any such part, provision, or application.


Upon adoption of these regulations, the City of Plymouth Subdivision Control Ordinance, as amended, adopted on November 22, 1954, is hereby repealed except as to such sections expressly retained herein.


The Plymouth Common Council may amend the provisions of these subdivision control regulations as may be deemed necessary. Public hearings on all proposed amendments shall be held by the Plan Commission in the manner prescribed by law, and its recommendation on said amendment forwarded to the Common Council for final action.


Regulation of the subdivision of land and the attachment of reasonable conditions to land subdivision is an exercise of valid police power delegated by the State. The developer has the duty of compliance with reasonable conditions laid down by the Plan Commission for design, dedication, improvement, and restrictive use of the land, so as to conform to the physical and economical development of the community at large.

No lot in a subdivision shall be sold, no building permit shall be issued, and no building shall be erected in a subdivision until a final plat has been approved by the Plan Commission and has been filed for recording with the County Recorder.


Procedure for Resubdivision

Any change in an approved or recorded subdivision plat affecting any street layout, any area reserved for public use, or any lot line shall be subject to approval by the Plan Commission by the same procedures, rules, and regulations as for a Minor or Major Subdivision, depending on the degree of the replatting.

Procedure of Subdivision Where Future Resubdivision is Indicated

Whenever a subdivision plat shows one or more lots containing more than one acre of land and there are indications that such lots will eventually be resubdivided into smaller building sites, the Plan Commission may require such parcel of land to allow for the future opening of streets and for the ultimate opening of adjacent streets. Easements providing for these future openings and extensions may be made a requirement of the plat.


Any plat, or part thereof, may be vacated by the owner at any time prior to the sale of any lot. Such action shall be by written instrument to which a copy of such plat shall be attached, declaring the same to be vacated.

The request shall be submitted to the Plan Commission and such instrument approved or disapproved by the Commission after a public hearing. The Plan Commission may reject any such instrument which abridges or destroys any public right in any of its uses, improvements, streets, or alleys.

If such an instrument is approved, it shall be executed, acknowledged and recorded in the same manner as plats of subdivisions; and being duly recorded shall void the recording of the plat and divest all public rights in the streets, alleys, and public grounds, and all dedications laid out or described in such plat.

When lots have been sold, the plat may be vacated in the manner herein provided by all of the owners of lots in such plat joining in the execution of the instrument. The vacation of a plat will not be approved if any improved lot is left without the required frontage on a public right-of-way.


Where the Plan Commission finds that extraordinary hardships or practical difficulties may result from strict compliance with these regulations and/or the purposes of these regulations may be served to a greater extent by an alternative proposal, it may approve variances or modifications to these subdivision regulations so substantial justice may be done.

The Plan Commission shall not approve variances or permit modifications unless it shall make findings based upon the evidence presented to it in each specific case that:

  1. The granting of the variance or modification will not be detrimental to the public safety, health, or welfare or injurious to other property; and
  2. The conditions upon which the request for modification or variance is based are unique to the property and are not applicable generally to other property; and
  3. Because of the particular physical surroundings, shape or topographical conditions of the specific property involved, a particular hardship to the owner would result as distinguished from a mere inconvenience, if the strict letter of these regulations are carried out; and
  4. The variance or modifications will not in any manner vary the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance, Comprehensive Plan, or Official Zoning Map.

A petition for any such variance or modification shall be submitted in writing by the subdivider at the time the preliminary plat is filed for the consideration of the Plan Commission. The application shall indicate the specific section of this ordinance under which the variance or modification is sought and state fully the grounds for the application and all the facts relied upon by the petitioner. After due consideration, the Plan Commission shall render a decision which shall be:

  1. Recorded in the minutes of the Commission, which minutes shall include the reasoning on which the variance or modification was approved or disapproved.
  2. Transmitted to the subdivider in written form and to applicable govern-mental units.


Every decision of the Plan Commission which regards subdivision platting shall be subject to review by certiorari. Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Plan Commission may present to the circuit or superior court of the County in which the premises affected are located a petition duly verified, setting forth that such decision is illegal in whole or in part, and specifying the grounds of the illegality. The petition shall be presented to the court within thirty (30) days after the entry of the decision or order of the Plan Commission being challenged.


The City Council shall establish fees that shall be charged for the checking, reviewing, and approval procedures on all plats.


It shall be the duty of the Plan Commission to enforce these regulations and to bring to the attention of the City Attorney any violation or lack of compliance herewith.

The subdivision of any lot or any parcel of land by the use of metes and bounds description for the purpose of sale, transfer or lease, with the intent of evading these regulations, shall not be permitted. All such described subdivision shall be subject to all of the requirements contained in these regulations.

Any person, firm or corporation who fails to comply with or violates any of these regulations shall be subject to a fine of not more than $100.00 for each violation, plus cost of prosecution. Each and every day such violation occurs shall be deemed a separate offense.


For the purpose of these regulations, certain works and phrases used herein shall be interpreted as follows:

The work "person" includes an individual, firm, association, organization, partnership, trust, company, corporation, or any other legal entity.

The masculine includes the feminine.

The present tense includes the past and future tense, words in the singular includes the plural.

The word "shall" is a mandatory requirement, the word "may" is a permissive requirement, and the word "should" is a preferred requirement.

The words "used" or "occupied" include the words "intended, arranged, or designed to be used or occupied".

The word "lot" includes the words "plot, parcel, and tract".

For the purpose of this ordinance, certain words are hereby defined.

Agricultural Purposes - The use of a tract of land for agricultural purposes only, which shall include farming, dairying, pasturing, agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, viticulture, animal and poultry husbandry.

Bond - Any form of security including a cash deposit, surety bond, collateral, property, or instrument of credit in an amount and form satisfactory to the City Council.

Building Line - A line drawn parallel to a lot line equal to the depth of a minimum building setback for the zoning district in which the lot is located as established by the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Plymouth.

Certiorari - A writ issued by a superior court to call up the records of an inferior court or of a body acting in a quasijudicial capacity.

Comprehensive Plan - A plan for the physical development of the community, a composite, or portion thereof, of the mapped and written proposals and recommendations relative to the growth and development of a given planning area which shall have been duly adopted by the City Council.

Construction Plan - The maps, drawings and textual descriptions accompanying a subdivision plat and showing the specific location and design of improvements to be installed in the subdivision in accordance with the requirements enumerated in this ordinance as a condition to the approval of the plat.

Council, City, Common - The Common Council of the City of Plymouth, Indiana.

Covenant - A private legal restriction on the use of land contained in the deed to the property and otherwise formally recorded along with the subdivision plat.

Culvert - A drain pipe that channels water.

Devise - The art of giving or disposing of real property by will.

Easement - A grant by a property owner for the use of a parcel of land by the general public, the utilities, or for a certain specific purpose not inconsistent with the general property rights of the owner.

Escrow - The arrangement for the handling of instruments or money not to be delivered until specified conditions are met.

Feasibility Report - A written report prepared by a professional engineer or land surveyor pertaining to the suitability of a site for various types of water and sewer systems; for drainage retention/detention and the subsoil conditions for various methods of street construction.

Frontage - The length along the street right-of-way line of a single lot, tract, or development area between the side lot lines of the property on an interior lot. A corner lot shall have frontage on both streets with one street being designated as the front when a building permit is obtained.

Grade - The slope of a road, street, or other public way, specified in terms of percentage (%). Example: One foot of rise in 100 feet would be one percent.

Improvement - Any alteration to the land or other physical construction associated with subdivision and building site development.

Improvement, Lot - Any building, structure, place, work of art, or other object, or improvement of the land on which they are situated, constituting a physical betterment of real property, or any part of such betterment.

Improvement, Public - Any drainage ditch, roadway, sidewalk, curb, tree, off-street parking area, main, or other facility for which the local or state government may ultimately assume the responsibility for maintenance and/or operation, or which may affect an improvement for which local or state government responsibility is established.

Improvement, Temporary - Improvements built and maintained by a subdivider during construction of the subdivision, which may or may not become permanent prior to release of the performance bond.

Infrastructure - The fixed public works and facilities necessary in a community, such as sewers, water systems and streets.

Intestacy - The quality or state of being or dying having made no valid will.

Jurisdiction - Jurisdiction of local government means all land within its boundaries and any land outside its boundaries over which it is authorized to exercise powers as recorded by map or description in the Office of the County Recorder of Marshall County.

Lease - A contract by which one conveys real estate for a specified term and a specified rent.

Lot - A parcel or portion of land separated from other parcels or portions by a description as on a subdivision, or record of survey map, or by metes and bounds, for purpose of sale, lease, or separate use. In computing the number of lots in a subdivision, any portion remaining to the owner and not intended for sale shall, nevertheless, be considered a lot.

Lot Area - The area of the horizontal plane of the lot bounded by the vertical planes of the front, side and rear lot lines.

Lot Line - A line which marks the boundary of a lot.

Lot, Types - Terminology used in this ordinance with reference to different types of lots is as follows:

Corner Lot - A lot located at the intersection of two or more streets.
Interior Lot - A lot with only one frontage on a street.
Through Lot - A lot other than a corner lot with frontage on more than one street. Through lots abutting two streets may also be referred to as double frontage lots.

Monument - Any permanent marker either of stone, concrete, galvanized iron pipe, or iron steel rods, used to identify the boundary lines of any tract, parcel, lot or street lines.

No Access Easement - A public easement along a public right-of-way, across which the access to a property is not permitted.

Office of the Recorder - The Recorder's Office of Marshall County, Indiana.

Owner - Any individual, company, partnership or corporation, having sufficient proprietary interest in the land sought to be subdivided, to commence and maintain proceedings to subdivide the same under this ordinance.

Performance Guarantee - Any guarantee which may be accepted in lieu of a requirement that certain improvements be made before the Plan Commission approves the final plat, including, but not limited to, performance bond, escrow agreements, or surety arrangements as approved as valid and enforceable by the City Council.

Plat - The drawing, map, or plan of a subdivision or other tract of land or a replat of such, including certifications, descriptions, and approvals.

Plat, Final - The final presentation of the map, plan or record of a subdivision and any accompanying material, as described in these regulations.

Plat, Preliminary - The preliminary drawing or drawings, described in these regulations, indicating the proposed manner or layout of the subdivision to be submitted to the Plan Commission for approval.

Plat, Sketch - An informal sketch preparatory to the preparation of the preliminary plat (or final plat in the case of minor subdivisions) to enable the subdivider to save time and expense in reaching general agreement with the Plan Commission as to the form of the plat in accordance with the objectives of these regulations.

Public Sewer - A sewage disposal system which is constructed, installed, maintained, operated and owned by a municipality, taxing district established for that purpose, or a utility under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission of Indiana, but shall not include a County sewer installed for the purpose of carrying surface water runoff and sub-soil drainage.

Public Utility - A firm, corporation, municipal department or board duly authorized to furnish or furnishing under regulation to the public, electricity, gas, steam, communication (including CATV), transportation, drainage, sewer and water.

Public Water - A water supply system which is constructed, installed, maintained, operated and owned by a municipality, taxing district established for that purpose, or a utility under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission of Indiana.

Registered Engineer - An engineer who is licensed in compliance with the laws of the State of Indiana.

Registered Land Surveyor - A land surveyor who is licensed on compliance with the laws of the State of Indiana.

Reserve Strip - An area of land adjacent to a public right-of-way which is retained in private ownership by the subdivider for the purpose of denying access to the adjacent land or an area of land which is reserved and held in public ownership for street widening.

Right-of-Way - A strip of land appropriated for public use as a street, highway, driveway, alley or walkway, or for any drainage or public utility purpose or other similar uses.

Screening - Any means of protecting an area of land from the adverse visual and audible effects of another area. The specific requirements for screening are set forth in the Zoning Ordinance.

Setback - The distance between a building and the nearest street right-of-way line or property line regardless of whether it is the front, side or rear of the building. It is a line established by the zoning ordinance that requires all buildings to be set back a certain distance from property lines.

Standards - A specific and detailed listing of materials and construction methods for subdivision improvements and standards of construction and design as adopted by the City Council.

Street - The area between the lot lines abutting upon a right-of-way, designed for vehicular traffic, whether designated as an alley, street, highway throughway, freeway, expressway, road, avenue, boulevard, or however otherwise designated:

Arterial, Minor - Any roadway that provides for through traffic movements between Areas within the County and through the County.
Arterial, Principal - Limited access highways which carry large volumes of inter-state traffic and have more importance regionally than locally. They may contain four or more moving lanes and a permit a continuous high speed traffic flow.
Collector - A street which carries traffic from local streets to arterial streets, and may include the principal entrance street of residential developments.
Cul-de-sac - A dead-end street terminated by a vehicle turn-around.
Local - Any roadway, the primary function of which is to provide direct access to residential, commercial, industrial, or other abutting real estate.
Loop Street - Any street which has its origin and termination point with the same street and forms a loop or "U" of various shapes or proportions.
Marginal Service Road - A minor road which is parallel and adjacent to a thorough-fare and which provides access to abutting properties and protection from through traffic.
Perimeter - Any existing street to which the parcel of land to be subdivided abuts on only one (1) side.
Private - An access roadway that is not dedicated or accepted for public use or maintenance which provides vehicular and pedestrian access.

Subdivider - Subdivider shall be deemed to be the individual, firm, corporation, partnership, association, syndicate, trust or other legal entity that executes the application and initiates proceedings for the subdivision of land in accordance with the provisions of this ordinance. The subdivider need not be the owner of the property. However, he shall be an agent of the owner or have sufficient proprietary rights in the property to represent the owner.

Subdivision - See Sections 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5.