According to Chelan County/WA a short subdivision aka Short Plat is the division of land into four or fewer lots, plots, sites, parcels, or tracts. note: examples are based on Chelan County Code but, the same principles are used in all counties. Check with your jurisdiction on the different type of subdivision they offer.
This means that if a parcel of land's zoning allows for division of land, then a person can go through the short plat process and achieve this division. Example: A 10 acre parcel, zoned RR2.5 or 2.5 acre min. lot size, can be short subdivided into four separate lots each with separate parcel numbers. As you can see this can create a tremendous amount of value. Note: Zoning designations can be different in different counties, cities and states, check with a professional or local agencies to find out the current zoning for a specific property.
This process is commonly thought of as dividing a large plat of land but, this same process can be used in Urban areas. Example No. 2 - A 20,000 sq. ft. lot, zoned UR3 (Urban Residential 3) Chelan County WA, can be divided into four, 5,000 sq. ft lots or 7,000 sq. ft. lot with a duplex.
Example 3 - Through your research your calculation determine that you can subdivide into 6 lots based on the zoning and parcel size. Within Chelan County WA you would then have to go through a formal subdivision process. This process will take at least 6-8 weeks longer to complete, require two hearings with the county and a significant increase in development costs i.e. roads, utilities, engineering etc. As you can see the variable cost of developing 2 additional lots may exceed your return.
The advantages of a short plat are reduced application process time, reduced development costs, reduced project risk and earlier return on investment. Check with your county or cities planning department to determine what process is right for your project. Or Contact a professional land use consulting firm to perform a project analysis.