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Tentative Map


Preliminary map submitted by a subdivider to the city planning office for the purpose of being approved to build. Once the tentative map is approved, the final map will be submitted and approved if all conditions are met.


A tentative map is the preliminary design and plans for a developer’s proposed subdivision. In other words, it is the first draft of a parcel map. First drafts are similar to rough drafts and are in no way indicative of the final map. Although the map in no way is considered the final copy all maps should contain basic components.

A developer can create a tentative map themselves. However, a tentative map is typically designed by an engineer and/or architect who has the expertise to accurately calculate a subdivision’s proposed dimensions within local ordinances.

A tentative map contains the following:

Legal description of the subject property

Proposed use for the property

Tentative lot layout, including dimensions

Locations and names of adjoining streets and highways

Width of adjoining streets and highways

Width and approximate location of existing easements

Source of water supply

Method of sewage disposal

Proposed public areas

Approximate locations of areas subject to flooding and/or storm water overflow, and water channels

After a developer creates a tentative map, he or she must submit it to the Planning Department for approval. There are various departments within the Planning Department who review and offer feedback on the tentative map, including:

Road Department

Health Department

Parks and Recreation Department

Flood Control Department

Local School Department

City Surveyor

Approval Process for Proposed Tentative Plans

The City Surveyor spends the most time reviewing and verifying the details of a tentative map. He or she is also the point of contact for the developer during the process.

Should any department deny a particular aspect of the tentative map, the developer must alter its map in order to get an approval.

After the Planning Department finishes its review of the tentative map, the city will hold a public hearing regarding the proposed development. The purpose of the hearing is to allow the public to voice opinions, suggestions, and/or concerns.

The Planning Department must issue an approval or denial of a tentative map within 50 days of a developer submitting it. If the city has received all the required paperwork and does not issue a decision within the 50-day period, the tentative map is considered approved.

Appealing Denial of Request to Build

The denial of a developer’s request typically occurs because a tentative map did not include the necessary components required for subdivision. Immediately upon receiving a denial, a developer should contact the city and find out which aspects of the tentative map led to the denial. The city may rescind its denial and grant an approval if a developer adopts the city’s required changes. A developer must submit an appeal within ten days of the denial of the tentative map. The city then has 30 days to make a final decision. If the city does not issue a decision within the 30-day period, the tentative map is considered approved.

Some cities possess strict rules that require a tentative map to be the final map. Failure to have a proper tentative map may result in a significant time increase in the subdivision process.

A final map must be approved in order for a developer’s land to be approved for subdivision. To obtain this approval, a developer must meet all the requirements of the Subdivision Map Act before the tentative map expires.

The sub-divider must divide the land based on the standards set forth by the city. When subdividing large land that runs through multiple streets, the sub-divider will usually make changes to the streets to allow for easy access to and from the property. After accounting for the streets, curbs, and public space which may run through the land, the developer if approved by the city, can subdivide the land. Land must be divided according to the standards set forth by both the state and local government.

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