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Dale Grace

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Site Condo or Platted Subdivision?



Is it a Site Condominium, or is it
A Platted Subdivision?

When driving through a new housing development, it is virtually impossible to know whether it is a "platted sub" or a "site condo". Here is why.

A Platted Subdivision is the traditional method of creating a residential "subdivision" commonly found in most communities. A plat is a surveyed map of a proposed subdivision of land. Platting involves preparing detailed design plans that are subject to review by local and state regulatory agencies. The design plans provide graphic illustrations of the plat and include such information as the location, size of lots, roads and streets, utilities, and drainage. The platting process requires a preliminary and final review of the subdivision plans by the state and local governments. Platted subdivisions are regulated under the Michigan Land Division Act. Each lot is individually owned from lot line to lot line. Most platted subdivisions have restrictive covenants that place restrictions on the type of accessory uses and structures that are allowed within the subdivision. These are deed restrictions on the property and will remainin perpetuity. The restrictive covenants are enforced by the residents of the subdivision and not by the Township.

A Site Condominium is an alternative to a platted subdivision. A site condominium is the dividing of a single parcel of land into two or more parcels. What distinguishes a site condominium from a typical condominium is that it involves land (a "site") rather than a building. Although it seems otherwise, a site condominium is not a subdivision. It's a way for more than one person to agree on how they will own and use land. Most of us have heard of condominiums, but not as many of us have heard of site condominiums. A typical condominium project looks like an apartment building, but everyone owns their apartment, and everyone contributes to the maintenance of common areas. A site condominium is also a condominium, but it's a condominium for land. The land is divided into separate parcels or units, and each parcel or unit may be owned by a separate person. A developer must give notice to many of the same regulatory agencies as for a traditional subdivision. However, the review and approval process for a condominium project is done at the local level of government and does not require a review by the state. Site condominiums are governed by the Michigan Condominium Act. A condominium is created when a master deed is recorded with the County Register of Deeds. The Master Deed consists of a detailed description, in words, of the land to be included in the condominium project. The Master Deed consists of two exhibits. Exhibit A is the condominium bylaws, which sets forth the rules of governance of the condominium by the condominium association. The co-owners of the condominium subdivision enforce the bylaws. Exhibit B is a drawing which depicts the boundaries of each section and type of the condominium area. Since the approval process is usually more streamlined than approvals of traditional subdivisions, condominiums have become increasingly popular for many developments in recent years.

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