How Do I Draw a Site Plan?
All site plans require accurate property line locations in relation to any existing and/or proposed structures, parking, or other site features. The following steps will help you in preparing your site plan:
Step 1: Determine property boundaries and lot dimensions.
There are four ways to do this:
Using your property’s tax lot number, you may look up the County Tax Assessor’s Map that includes your lot. Assessor’s maps are regularly updated maps drawn to scale and based on the latest recorded surveys and plats of the area, and they will usually include lot dimensions for all sides of your property. The lot dimension information found on the Assessor’s map should allow you to correctly draw the property dimensions on your site plan, but it does not show the location of buildings, driveways, etc. You may then locate property corner pins.
Similar to the Tax Assessor’s map, you may also look up your lot on the recorded plat that your property is within. The legal description of your property, which should be included on the deed, usually contains your property's lot or parcel number and the subdivision name in which your lot is located. In cases where the property is not within a subdivision plat, the legal description will likely be a ‘metes and bounds’ description that describes the perimeter of the property in greater detail, without reference to a plat.
Using a previously approved site plan of the subject property as a guide can save time when preparing your site plan. If there is an existing structure on the property, which required building permits, that was built in the 1950s through the 1980s, there is a possibility that the City may have an archived copy of the original building plans on file, including a site plan. If there is an existing structure on the property, which required building permits, that was built after the 1980s, then there is a high likelihood that the City has archived the original site plan. You must make a public records request through the City Legal Department in order to obtain old site plans.
A licensed surveyor can locate your property lines and prepare a topographic survey of your property, showing the property boundaries in relation to the street and existing buildings. This information can then be used to help you prepare your site plan correctly. This is a much more expensive option but necessary for larger projects.
Step 2: Determine the location of structures and other site features in relation to the property boundaries.
Using the property boundary location and dimension information gathered in Step 1, you must next determine the location of existing buildings, streets, driveways, trees, and other site features in relation to the property boundaries. Measure the distance from these site features to the surrounding property lines. You can do this either with a tape measure, or you can use Google Earth’s measuring tool.
Step 3: Draw the plan.
Use all the information gathered in Steps 1 and 2 to prepare your site plan. You may draw your site plan by hand or use a computer graphics or drafting program. Remember the site plan must to be scale. Click here for some easy to use CAD software free trials to play with.
Step 4: Check the drawing and make copies.
Check your work for accuracy before submitting it. The size and number of copies of the site plan required depends on what type of application you are submitting. Check the appropriate application submittal checklist.
- Allen Permual