Subdivision Plat Surveys


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Complete Platting & Re-Platting Services

We prepare “turn-key” platting services for city and county entities in the Houston Metropolitan Area. This includes preparation of the plats, submittal to the appropriate entity, and meetings/follow-ups throughout the platting process until the plat is recorded.

What is Platting and When is it Required?

If you’ve recently purchased or acquired a tract of land and plan on dividing it, adding to it, or otherwise developing it, you will come across the phrase “property plat.” Plats are important because they give an accurate description of a section of land as well as the people, things, and access ways on the tract. Plats ensure property owners don’t trespass on another’s property, land for public use remains public, lots comply with zoning rules and restrictions, and all property owners have access to utilities. Plats also control the growth of cities.

Local governments require plats to keep track of all residential and commercial properties, their subdivisions, and the development of tracts of land. Without the platting system, there would be no legal documentation of the development of a property – nor would there be laws holding property owners liable for what they do to their land and that of adjacent tracts. Plats may seem like tedious red tape, but they are necessary to preserve the law and order of lands. Learning about property plats can help you understand your rights as a landowner, and begin the development process within the legal boundaries of your county code.

Property plats are necessary during the land development process – particularly with the subdivision of a tract of land. Platting is a complex process that many lawyers, real estate developers, and even government officials still struggle with. The problem lies in the origin of platting laws. Plats are based in public law, not contract law. Subdivision platting laws are based on governmental legal concepts of “police power,” or the right of the government to make laws necessary to protect the safety, welfare, and health of the public.

In Texas, the platting process and the regulations that govern it are generally overseen at the local level. Owners of property in unincorporated areas must report to the pertinent county, and landowners in incorporated cities and towns must file plats with the appropriate municipality's planning department. Virtually every jurisdiction requires plats for any property that stands to be improved with water, sewage, electricity, landline telephones and other public utility services.

While there may be some wiggle room elsewhere in the state, Texas law strictly enforces this requirement in border counties. Permits for HVAC, plumbing, structural modifications and other services may also require a filed plat. It's important to note that this requirement applies to subdivisions of previously platted properties. Developers who wish to subdivide residential or commercial properties into individual lots for sale must file a plat for each lot.

Securing an Aboveboard Plat

There's more to platting a property than filing an ad hoc document that describes its boundaries with the local planning office. First, landowners must contact a surveyor or structural engineer to map the property and identify the improvements that must be made before the plat's approval. Property owners must secure a right-of-way designation and identify the owners of all adjacent properties as well.

In many jurisdictions, the platting process is accompanied by a period of public review. For instance, the city of Laredo invites all owners of properties that lie within 200 feet of a newly platted or re-platted parcel to comment on any proposed zoning or land-use changes at a public hearing. While this is usually a formality, it's important for landowners to anticipate potential objections to their aims.

Zoning Restrictions and Other Considerations

Zoning rules play a big role in the issuance and use of platted properties. For starters, the regulations that govern the subdivision of platted properties can be waived in certain circumstances:

  • Small or awkwardly shaped plots would be practically unusable under traditional regulations
  • Noise, dust or vibration would create problems for owners of surrounding properties during the construction process
  • Unusual structural or physical characteristics demand unique use of the property

It's also important to remember that different cities categorize land use in different ways. Common zones include:

  • Central business district
  • Community business district
  • Light/heavy industrial district
  • Single-family residential subdivision
  • Multi-family residential subdivision
  • Mixed-use district

Aesthetic and Historic Issues

In many older cities, zoning laws are augmented by building codes and historic-preservation requirements that further constrict the development of platted lots. In historic districts, a separate organization or department may have to sign off on any improvement plans. Likewise, neighborhoods with sidewalks and irrigation systems may require builders and landowners to navigate another layer of bureaucracy. Other issues include setback requirements, landscaping restrictions and facade management.

Some Key Platting Laws

Texas has hundreds of counties and incorporated cities, but most platting requirements follow a few well-worn state laws. These include:

  • Subchapter A of Chapter 212 for city zoning approval
  • LGC § 212.0105 and 212.0106 for certain cities in border areas
  • Model Subdivision Rules of TWDB (31 TAC Chapter 364) for border cities and counties
  • Subchapter A of Chapter 232 for commercial areas near the border

Homeowners and business owners should carefully review the applicable statutes before applying for a plat or zoning variance.

Platting Process

Platting is the way in which property is divided, through laying out on paper or mapping each piece of land. A recorded plat indicates lots, building lines, easements and rights-of-way, flood areas, boundary markers, and other permanent attachments to land. Platting generally takes 4 to 6 weeks each for the preliminary and final plat stages and involves:

  • Pre-application conference (recommended / optional)
  • Review of preliminary plat by staff
  • Development Review Committee (DRC)
  • Review comments to applicant within one week
  • Fees, tax certification, corrected plat and completed application submitted by applicant
  • Consideration by Planning and Zoning Commission
  • Submittal of final plat for review by the DRC
  • Process repeats as shown above
  • After Planning and Zoning approval, applicant submits one mylar for signature and filing by the city at county courthouse


This process involves a public hearing and notification of property owners within 200 feet of the property and may be completed in about 4 to 6 weeks. Re-platting involves:

  • Pre-application conference (recommended / optional)
  • Review by the staff DRC
  • Review comments to applicant within one week
  • Fees, tax certification, corrected plat and completed application submitted by applicant
  • Notification posted in the newspaper at least 15 days prior to the Planning and Zoning Public Hearing date
  • Property owners within 200 feet of the subject property are notified by mail
  • Public Hearing (Planning and Zoning Commission) Mylars are filed at county courthouse by city staff

Surveying Texas Property for Over 30 Years

Bonded and insured, we offer all phases of land surveying, including but not limited to ALTA/NSPS land title surveys, Category 1A Condition II surveys, residential surveys, topographic surveys, construction surveys, platting services and elevation certificates.

We have extensive experience all property types including small and large acreage vacant tracts, apartment complexes, shopping centers, hospitals, office buildings, industrial sites, cell towers, and much more.

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The South Texas Surveying family is dedicated to our clients because we understand the importance of each and every project we undertake. It is our family’s name that we take pride in, therefore it is our mission to make sure that every time we take on a survey project, we give it our all.

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