Plats of subdivision very often show certain portions or areas thereof as having been dedicated, restricted, reserved, or merely marked for certain specific purposes or uses such as a street, road, park, public area, public use, beach, resort area, school, church, square, public square.
These depicted areas may have been:
- Formally dedicated by the plat itself of the subdivision.
- Formally dedicated by a declaration of restrictions or any other related instrument.
- Not dedicated by the plat or any other related instruments but reserved in the plat.
- Neither dedicated nor reserved but merely marked.
Formal Dedication Of Plats
Where the plat of the subdivision or some other instrument contains formal dedicatory language in reference to the specific purpose or use being assigned to a portion of the plat that is shown marked as street, road, park, public area, public use, beach, resort area, school, church, public square, reserved for ..., there are two basic situations:
The area was formally dedicated and accepted.
If the dedicated area has been formally accepted by the proper public authorities, it becomes necessary to consider it as public property (fee or easement).
Any attempted sale of the area would be governed by the legal dispositions that regulate the sale of properties held by political bodies.
The area was formally dedicated but never accepted.
Even when public authorities have never accepted a particular street public park, or any other area so designated on a plat, the general rule is that by platting land and conveying a lot with reference to the plat, the owner-subdivider will be estopped to deny the dedication of the areas specifically marked on the plat as street, public parks, etc.
The approval of a subdivision plat by a city or other governmental body is not an automatic acceptance of the streets, parks, or any other public area depicted on the plat. Any dedication, in addition to acceptance, is also subject to rejection or revocation, and the dedicated area is subject to abandonment.
Nevertheless, in spite of the lack of a formal acceptance, the dedicated area becomes impressed with a certain quasi-public character. In order to release the property from such a condition, the following must be complied with:
- A formal declaration of rejection or abandonment executed (if legally permissible)
by the proper government body must be filed for record; and,
- A formal declaration of revocation duly executed by the owner-development must be filed for record.
Note: Serious consideration must be given to the possible rights of owners, lienholders, encumbrancers, and other parties with interest in the subdivision, and to obtaining and filing for record proper releases from these parties.
Area Is Not Dedicated But Is Shown As Reserved Or Merely Marked For A Specific Purpose In The Plat Of The Subdivision
In this situation, it is a well-established principle that although no rights have been created in favor of the general public, an easement for a specific purpose has been created for the benefit of all the lot owners in the subdivision.
Any area so reserved or marked does restrict the right of the developer or subdivider to use that area for any other purpose. Any lot owner in the subdivision has a private right to have the area used as platted and may obtain a court order forbidding any other use.
Any sale or encumbrance of such land must be formally consented to by all (l00%) of the record owners, lienholders, and parties in interest of lots or parts thereof that constitute the subdivision by an instrument in recordable form and recorded in the appropriate real property records.