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Frequently Asked Questions

The material in this question and answer series is for your information only. It is not legal advice and is not designed to be used in place of legal advice. You should consult your own attorney for legal advice. The St. Joseph Legal Department provides this series to provide a general summary of procedures concerning violations of city ordinances in the City of St. Joseph, Missouri. It is issued to inform generally, not to advise of specific rights. As with any general information, the answers given here may not specifically apply to you.
What is the subdivision process or platting?

Platting is the process of creating a “lot of record” with Buchanan County through the city’s subdivision process outlined in Chapter 26. This creates a recorded “plat” or map of a lot or lots showing important information like property lines, utility and access easements, drainage, etc. Platting a property requires working with a surveyor and submitting a plat document and application to the city for review. Platting can be considered one of the first steps in development of a property, along with zoning.

The City has two subdivision processes:


  • A subdivision application can be considered administrative if the proposed subdivision does not have more than 3 lots, do not alter development or impact public services, do not require new street or alley right-of-way or other public dedication, has no significant increase in service requirements (or impact on maintaining existing services), or does not involve drainage improvements
  • Application is reviewed by staff, who make the final decision of approval. 
  • Approved administrative subdivisions may be recorded with Buchanan County.


  • Major subdivisions are any subdivision that does not meet the criteria of administrative subdivisions. 
  • The process is split into preliminary and final stages. 
  • Preliminary applications are reviewed by staff and placed on a Planning Commission agenda where the Planner provides a recommendation of approval, approval with conditions, or denial. 
  • The Planning Commission then provides a recommendation to City Council, where the item goes through two hearings. 
  • If approved, the final application may be submitted (at no extra cost) and the plat will go through two additional hearings in City Council. 
  • Approved final major subdivisions may be recorded with Buchanan County.

The Planning & Zoning division can provide more information about the platting process and requirements.

Show All Answers

1. What is Planning & Zoning?
2. What applications & permits does Planning & Zoning administer?
3. What is a subdivision or plat?
4. What is the subdivision process or platting?
5. How Do I combine, split, or adjust my property lines?
6. Does the city provide surveying services?
7. What is zoning?
8. What is rezoning?
9. How do I find my property’s zoning?
10. What does zoning determine?
11. How do I get a fence permit and what are the city’s rules for fences?
12. How do I get a pool permit and what are the city’s rules for pools?
13. How do I get a garage/shed/etc. permitted?
14. How do I get a sign permit?
15. What is a site plan?
16. What is the Zoning Board of Adjustment?
17. What is a variance or exception?
18. What is the Planning Commission?
19. What is the Downtown Review Board?