Subdivision & Subdivision related Applications

In order to encourage orderly community development and to provide for the efficient and effective use of public improvements, services and utilities, the City of Mason City has adopted regulations that guide the subdivision and development of land in and near the community.  Chapter 11 of the Municipal Code, the City’s Subdivision Ordinance, is applicable to all land within the corporate limits of the city, or within two (2) miles of the corporate limits of the City.  No building permit can be issued for construction on any lot, parcel or tract where a subdivision is required unless and until a final plat has been approved and recorded.


Minor subdivisions are exempt from the preliminary plat approval process but do require final plat approval.  A minor subdivision is any subdivision that contains not more than four (4) lots (including outlots) fronting on an existing street, not involving any new street or road, or the extension of municipal facilities or the creation of any public improvements, and not adversely affecting the remainder of the parcel or adjoining property, and not in conflict with any provision or portion of the Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Map, Zoning Ordinance or the City’s subdivision regulations. 


Major subdivisions are subject to both the preliminary plat and final plat review processes.  A major subdivision is any subdivision that is not classified as a minor subdivision, including any size subdivision requiring any hew street or extension of the local government facilities, or the creation of any public improvements.


Exceptions to platting requirements:

A Lot Split, the division of a single parcel into two developable lots, is exempt from the platting requirement.  However a Lot Split permit is required prior to recording a survey or executing any documents transferring ownership.  Lot splits are governed by Title 11-3-3 of the Subdivision Ordinance.


A Boundary Line Adjustment, making minor changes to the boundaries of parcels between owners of adjacent parcels of land, is required prior to recording a survey or executing any documents transferring ownership.  Boundary Line Adjustment to Consolidate two or more parcels is also required when two or more parcels under common ownership are consolidated into one tax parcel.  Boundary Line Adjustments are governed by Title 11-3-2 of the Subdivision Ordinance.


Platting Process:


1.  Pre-Application Conference:  In order to convey critical information regarding the subdivision process, a pre-application conference is required prior to the submission of a subdivision application.  The conference shall include the Administrative Officer, other appropriate City staff, and utility company representatives where advisable.  Typically, the pre-application conference is held in conjunction with the weekly meeting of the City’s Development Review Committee.  To schedule a pre-application conference, contact the Development Services Department at 641-421-3626 or via email at


The purpose of the pre-application conference is to:

  • Acquaint the application with the subdivision regulations and related requirements of the City.
  • List the requirements that the applicant must comply with prior to the Submission of the preliminary plat.
  • Establish the applicable street widths for the subdivision.
  • Determine whether the applicant wishes to request waivers of any subdivision regulations.


2.      Concept Plan Review:  Following the pre-application conference, the applicant will submit a concept plan.  The concept plan is intended to reflect the general intentions of the applicant with regard to layout of lots, streets and utilities, and to provide a basis for discussion and revision before substantial engineering costs are incurred.  Requests for concept plan review are accepted on a rolling basis.  After receipt of a concept plan, it will be reviewed by the appropriate City staff.  Comments will be returned within twenty days of the receipt of the plan.  Comments are intended to provide guidance to the applicant and not to constitute an official decision on the application.  Subdividers shall complete and attach the Concept Plan Request for Review to the concept plan.


3.      Preliminary Plat Requirements:  Preliminary plat requirements are applicable to all major subdivisions.  Subdividers of minor subdivisions may choose to follow the preliminary plat process.  This is encouraged by staff but is not required.  Upon receipt of a complete preliminary plat application, the Administrative officer will distribute the application for review and comment by the affected City departments and utilities.  Their findings as to the plat’s compliance will be forwarded to the Planning and Zoning Commission.  The Commission shall review the plat, conduct a public hearing and make a recommendation to the City Council within 45 days of the receipt of the application.  The Council shall review the Council’s recommendation on the preliminary plat and shall take action on the plat within 45 days following action by the Commission.  If the Council fails to take action on the plat within 45 days, the plat shall be deemed approved. The approval of a preliminary plat is effective for 1 year after approval, unless upon the written request of the applicant, the Council grants an extension of time.  If the final plat is not filed within 1 year, all previous actions of the Council with respect to the plat will be null and void.


4.      Final Plat Requirements:  Final plat requirements are applicable to all major subdivisions, after preliminary plat approval, and all minor subdivisions.  Upon receipt of a complete final plat application, the Administrative Officer shall distribute the plat to affected City departments and utilities for review and comment.  Their findings as to the plat’s conformance with the approved preliminary plat, the City’s Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Ordinance, shall be reported to the City Council.  The Council shall take action on the plat within 60 days following the receipt of a completed application.  If the Council does not take action within 60 days, the plat shall be deemed approved.