Division of Property Obligation to Build Improvements In California

Section 66462.5 is part of the state's Subdivision Map Act (Act). ( 66410 et seq.) The Act is the primary regulatory control governing the division of property in California and generally requires that a subdivider of property design the subdivision in conformity with applicable general and specific plans and to construct public improvements in connection with the subdivision. The purpose of the Act is to coordinate planning within the community and to assure proper improvements are made so as not to place an undue burden on the taxpayers. (Physical Division of Real Property in Partition Action, 64 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 762, 765 (1981); Morehart v. County of Santa Barbara (1994) 7 Cal. 4th 725, 748 29 Cal. Rptr. 2d 804, 872 P.2d 143; Gomes v. County of Mendocino (1995) 37 Cal. App. 4th 977, 985 44 Cal. Rptr. 2d 93.) Under the Act, the requirements of the subdivider are enumerated, as are the corresponding duties of the local governing body. In many portions of the Act, specific time limits are set for action, and correlating consequences are established for failure to meet those time limits. (See 66451.4, 66452.2, 66452.4.) Section 66462.5 contains such a time limit, one which places an obligation on the local governing body to acquire an interest in land upon which the subdivider is obligated to build improvements within 120 days of the filing of the final subdivision map. The failure to abide by the statutory time limit results in a waiver of the obligation to construct the improvements. In this case, there is no question the city failed to acquire title to the land on which the improvements were to be made within the time set by section 66462.5.