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The Buncombe County Land Development and Subdivision Ordinance was adopted to establish procedures and standards for the subdivision of land within the jurisdiction of the County, as well as to provide for orderly growth and adequate provision of streets, water, and sewage disposal. Types of subdivision developments are listed below.

Subdivision Ordinance Updates & Announcements

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Major and Minor Subdivision Approval Process

The subdivision approval process consists of three phases:
preliminary plat approval, infrastructure installment, and final plat approval.

Preliminary Plat Review

Major and Minor subdivisions are reviewed internally by County Planning staff. Staff strongly recommends that prior to submission of a preliminary plat, the applicant schedule a pre-development conference to discuss the general requirements of the Subdivision, Erosion Control, Stormwater Management, Zoning, Flood Damage Prevention, and Fire Prevention Ordinances.

Major and Minor Subdivision applications must be emailed to for review.

If the preliminary plat is not complete enough for staff to grant preliminary approval the applicant will be provided with a letter listing plat deficiencies and be given 60 days from the date of the letter to revise the preliminary plat. If new preliminary plats are not received with 60 days the submitted plats will be denied preliminary approval and the applicant must to submit a new application for preliminary approval and pay the required fee again.

As-Built Drawing Review

If the applicant is planning to record lots in the subdivision prior to all infrastructure being installed, the applicant must furnish a financial guarantee prior to submitting a draft final plat. The guarantee of improvements and other required documentation shall be submitted to and approved by staff prior to submittal of a draft final plat.

  • In order to submit a guarantee of improvements the developer must have completed 25% percent (based on a professional engineer's sealed cost estimate) of infrastructure improvements for the phase of the subdivision for which the guarantee applies.
  • All guarantees shall include a signed and sealed document detailing the cost of all communal infrastructure improvements and the continuing maintenance of the site prepared and certified by a licensed civil engineer. The document must include an itemized list of costs and an anticipated construction schedule for all work.
  • The guarantee of improvements shall be secured in one of the following forms:
    • A surety bond issued by any company authorized to do business in North Carolina.
    • A letter of credit issued by any financial institution licensed to do business in North Carolina.
    • A bond of the owner/developer by an official bank check drawn in favor of the County and deposited with the County.
    • Other form of guarantee that provides equivalent security to a surety bond or letter of credit (such as an official certified bank check for deposit or a certificate of deposit naming Buncombe County as the beneficiary).
  • Please note that Buncombe County will not accept any financial guarantee where collection of said guarantee, if required due to default, cannot be made at a local bank counter.
  • Guarantee shall be in the amount equal to 125% percent of the estimate.
  • All guarantees of improvements shall contractually stipulate a completion date that is at least 180 days past the expected completion date as stated in the approved construction schedule.
  • The owner/developer must submit a signed and sealed statement by a registered civil engineer licensed in North Carolina certifying that all work has been completed to the standards of the Land Disturbance and Subdivision Ordinance before the Planning Department will determine satisfactory completion of all guaranteed work.
  • Work not completed within 90 consecutive days following the stipulated completion date will be considered in default. The Planning Department will proceed immediately with a claim against the guarantee of improvements for all work in default.
  • Please contact Planning regarding questions about financial guarantees.

Prior to a draft final plat or as-built drawing being submitted for review or a guarantee of improvements being released the applicant must submit a letter certifying that all communal infrastructure has been completed.

  • The letter must specifically state that the roads and shared private driveways within the subdivision have been completed and built to Buncombe County Land Development and Subdivision Ordinance standards.
  • Documentation must be provided that sewer and water lines are installed and turned over to the appropriate agency, or a letter certifying that those utilities are installed and have been built to the appropriate agencies standards must be submitted.
  • Additionally, the letter must also indicate that any shared well and septic systems and/or water have been completed and installed (if the Planning Department has not received verification from the appropriate governmental agency that water and sewer systems have been approved and installed to their specifications).
  • The statement must be signed and sealed by a civil engineer licensed in North Carolina. No subdivision road inspection will be scheduled until staff has received and accepted the letter certifying completion of infrastructure.

An as-built drawing must be submitted and approved prior to a final plat being recorded. The requirements for an as-built drawing can be found in Sec. 70-40 of the Subdivision Ordinance.

Prior to a draft final plat being submitted for review or a guarantee of improvements being released, the applicant must schedule a road inspection with the Planning Department. A road inspection must be passed prior to a draft final plat being submitted for review. Please contact Please contact Planning to schedule a road inspection.

Final Plat Review

After As-Built approval has been granted, the surveyor must submit a draft final plat PDF document through the County’s online permitting portal for review by the Planning department prior to submitting the final plat for signatures. After the draft final plat is approved it can be submitted either through an e-signature service, such as DocuSign, or by delivering a paper copy to the Planning Department.

Additional Information for Subdivision Submittal

Please be aware that the Buncombe County Planning Department uses the total number of lots resulting after a subdivision of land , not just the number of new lots created, to determine which level of review—Special, Minor, Major—will take place. This would include any adjoining lots that the subdivider owns, and can therefore subdivide at a future point.

The parcel(s) being subdivided will include parcels that are part of a larger common plan of development or sale, even though multiple, separate or distinct entities own the parcel(s) and/or tract. Number of subdivision lots is cumulative, and if an applicant creates a subdivision and then at a future time divides lots further, the original lots created count towards the resultant number of lots.

Multi-family or other such developments (i.e. planned unit developments, certain mixed-use developments, etc.) may require a Special Use Permit in addition to Subdivision review and approval. Special Use Permits are approved by the Buncombe County Board of Adjustment through a quasi-judicial public hearing process.

Land disturbing activities meeting the thresholds provided for in the Stormwater and Erosion Control Ordinances must first apply for Stormwater and Erosion Control approval. No land disturbance may occur before approval of a preliminary subdivision plan by the Planning Department, nor prior to approval by the Board of Adjustment if necessary. If plan approval is contingent on items relating to land disturbance, these items must be satisfied prior to the issuance of a Stormwater or Erosion Control Permit.

Land disturbing activity under a acre is also regulated in the Beaverdam Zoning District (BDM), the Steep Slope/High Elevation Overlay District, and the Protected Ridge Overlay District as part of the Buncombe County Zoning Ordinance as well as projects subject to the Hillside Development Standards of the Subdivision Ordinance.

Subdivision submittals are also subject to the Buncombe County Fire Prevention Ordinance (Chapter 30 of the Buncombe County Code of Ordinances), and to the review of the Buncombe County Fire Marshal. Please send all survey plats ready for review to the Fire Marshal at

The data necessary to create a Slope Analysis Map as required by Section §70-40(a)(5) of the Subdivision Ordinance can be found as follows—

Important! If at any point during the subdivision development process changes are made to the approved preliminary plats,
the applicant must submit revised plats to staff for review.

Documents & Forms

View Subdivision Development-related documents, files, and forms.

View All Planning & Development Documents & Forms

Locate & Contact

Planning & Development - Subdivisions


Planning & Development
P: (828) 250-4830

Nathan Pennington, CFM

Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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