Additions and Subdivisions

Definitions of terms used throughout the guide and brief explanations of land description systems and sources.

Rationale

Definitions and Explanations

One of the challenges staff and volunteers faced as we began working with the information in this guide is the terminology. Real estate description has its own vocabulary. These definitions and explanations are intended to demystify some of what you will see presented here.

Unless otherwise noted, definitions are direct quotes from the cited sources.

Sources

Sources

Zone Atlases

Both the City of Albuquerque and the County of Bernalillo publish zone atlases in order to identify whether a given area is designated residential, commercial, agricultural, etc. The maps correspond to the Bureau of Land Management's Rectangular Survey System, and each zone atlas page describes one section of land.

Addition

Addition

There is no legal definition of an addition in the city or county ordinances. According to Matthew Conrad, Associate Planning Director, City of Albuquerque Planning Department, Addition is just part of a name for a subdivision and does not correspond to a specific term or designation.

Block

Block

Property bounded on one side by a street and on the other sides by a street, railroad right of way, waterway, unsubdivided area, or other definite barriers.

Albuquerque Code of Ordinances, Chapter 14 (Zoning, Planning and Building), Article 14 (Subdivision Regulations), § 14-14-1-6.

Easement (Bernalillo County definition)

Easement

[A]ny right or privilege that a person or persons may have in another's land that are documented in the records of the office of the county clerk.

Bernalillo County, NM Code of Ordinances. Chapter 74, Subdivisions, Section 74-10, Definitions

Final Plat (Bernalillo County definition)

Final Plat

[A] map, chart, survey, plan or replat certified by a licensed, registered land surveyor containing a description of the subdivided land with ties to permanent monuments prepared in a form suitable for filing of record.

Bernalillo County, NM Code of Ordinances. Chapter 74, Subdivisions, Section 74-10, Definitions

Lot (Bernalillo County definition)

Lot

[A] tract or parcel of land platted and placed on the county clerk's record in accordance with laws and ordinances.

Bernalillo County, NM Code of Ordinances. Chapter 74, Subdivisions, Section 74-10, Definitions

Lot (City of Albuquerque definition)

Lot

(1)   A tract or parcel of land, exclusive of public right of way, placed on the County Clerk's records in accordance with this article or predecessor ordinances, the Bernalillo County Subdivision Ordinance or predecessor ordinances, or (in situations not covered by then current subdivision ordinances) the laws of the State of New Mexico; or
(2)   A tract or parcel of land held in separate ownership, as that parcel was shown on the records of the County Assessor, prior to June 20, 1950, date of passage of City Commission Ordinance No. 686, or October 2, 1950, effective date of passage of a County Resolution (both covering subdivision).

Albuquerque Code of Ordinances, Chapter 14 (Zoning, Planning and Building), Article 14 (Subdivision Regulations), § 14-14-1-6.

Parcel (Bernalillo County definition)

Parcel

[Land] capable of being described by location and boundaries and not dedicated for public or common use.

Bernalillo County, NM Code of Ordinances. Chapter 74, Subdivisions, Section 74-10, Definitions

Plat (City of Albuquerque definition)

Plat

A graphic and written description of a lot or lots with survey reference ties to permanent survey monuments.

Albuquerque Code of Ordinances, Chapter 14 (Zoning, Planning and Building), Article 14 (Subdivision Regulations), § 14-14-1-6.

Replat (Bernalillo County definition)

Replat

[The] combination or recombination of portions of previously platted lots which does not increase the total number of lots.

Bernalillo County, NM Code of Ordinances. Chapter 74, Subdivisions, Section 74-10, Definitions

Subdivide (Bernalillo County definition)

Subdivide

[To] divide a surface area of land into a subdivision.

Bernalillo County, NM Code of Ordinances. Chapter 74, Subdivisions, Section 74-10, Definitions

Subdivide (City of Albuquerque definition)

Subdivide

To divide or redivide land into two or more parts by whatever.  To facilitate the present or future conveyance or other transfer of incidents of ownership or use.

Albuquerque Code of Ordinances, Chapter 14 (Zoning, Planning and Building), Article 14 (Subdivision Regulations), § 14-14-1-6.

Subdivision (Bernalillo County definition)

Subdivision

[The] division of a surface area of land including land within a previously approved subdivision, into two or more parcels for the purpose of sale, lease or other conveyance or for building development, whether immediate or future.

Bernalillo County, NM Code of Ordinances. Chapter 74, Subdivisions, Section 74-10, Definitions

Subdivision (City of Albuquerque definition)

Subdivision

(1)   The act of subdividing; or
(2)   The parcel of land subdivided.

Albuquerque Code of Ordinances, Chapter 14 (Zoning, Planning and Building), Article 14 (Subdivision Regulations), § 14-14-1-6.

Vacation (Bernalillo County definition)

Vacation

[The] cancellation or revocation of all or part of a previously recorded plat, subdivision, or right-of-way, showing as one lot or acreage of land that which was previously divided into lots or numbered or lettered parcels or created public right-of-way.

Bernalillo County, NM Code of Ordinances. Chapter 74, Subdivisions, Section 74-10, Definitions

Vacation (City of Albuquerque definition)

Vacation

The act which rescinds all or part of a recorded subdivision plat including legal dedications and grants of easements.

Albuquerque Code of Ordinances, Chapter 14 (Zoning, Planning and Building), Article 14 (Subdivision Regulations), § 14-14-1-6.

Rectangular Survey System

Rectangular Survey System

A system inaugurated by the Continental Congress on May 20, 1785, for the survey of the public lands of the United States.

The rectangular survey system in a nutshell:

The rectangular survey system (as opposed to the metes and bounds system) uses imaginary "nets" of big rectangles superimposed on the land. The center of a net is anchored at a known geographic position. Two base lines cross at the center, one north-south and the other east-west. The big rectangles of the net, each generally 24 miles by 24 miles, are described according to their position in relation to the base lines. Each big rectangle is then subdivided into smaller rectangles, and the smaller rectangles into even smaller rectangles, and so on.

The north-south base line of the net is called a meridian. The big 24-mile rectangles are called tracts. Tracts are each divided into 16 townships. Townships are divided into sections. Sections are divided into half-sections and quarter-sections. Half-sections and quarter-sections are divided and further subdivided into halves and quarters.

Parcels of land described from the rectangular survey system will use additional terms such as aliquot parts, ranges, and lots (or fractional lots).

Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records, Appendices, Glossary.

 

Principal Meridian (Bureau of Land Management definition)

Principal Meridian

The true north and south line extending from an initial point in both directions. Principal meridians are the first north-south lines (meridians) surveyed for an area and form the basis for measuring ranges east and west.

Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records, Appendices, Glossary.

Range (Bureau of Land Management definition)

Range

A row or tier of townships lying east or west of the principal meridian and numbered successively to the east and to the west from the principal meridian.

Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records, Appendices, Glossary.

Range Direction (Bureau of Land Management definition)

Range Direction

The Range Direction indicates which side of the principal meridian the township is on. In the example "Township 5 North, Range 12 West," West indicates the direction of the township from the (vertical) meridian. Range directions can be either east or west.

Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records, Appendices, Glossary.

Range Number (Bureau of Land Management definition)

Range Number

A Range Number identifies a township's East or West relation to its principal meridian. In the example "Township 5 North, Range 12 West," the number 12 represents the Range Number used to identify the township that is 12 tiers to the left of the principal meridian.

Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records, Appendices, Glossary.

Section (Bureau of Land Management definition)

Section

A section is a regular tract of land, 1-mile square, containing 640 acres, within a township. It is approximately 1/36 of a township.

Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records, Appendices, Glossary.

Section Number (Bureau of Land Management definition)

Section Number

Identifies a section within a township. Sections are usually numbered 1 to 36 but can be higher in some states.

Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records, Appendices, Glossary.

Township (Bureau of Land Management definition)

Township

A township is a major subdivision of the public lands under the rectangular system of surveys. It is a tract of land contained within the boundaries of the north-south range lines. Most townships are 4-sided, measuring approximately 6 miles on each side and containing approximately 36 square miles, or 23,040 acres.

Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records, Appendices, Glossary.

Township Direction (Bureau of Land Management definition)

Township Direction

The Township Direction indicates which side (north or south) of the baseline the township is on. In the example, Township 5 North, Range 12 West," North indicates the Township Direction from the (horizontal) baseline.

Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records, Appendices, Glossary.

Township Number (Bureau of Land Management definition)

Township Number

A township number is identified by its relation to a base line and a principal meridian. For example, "Township 5 North, Range 12 West" identifies a particular township that is 5 tiers up from the base line. In this example, the number 5 represents the Township Number. Some townships may be fractional.

Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records, Appendices, Glossary.

Tract (Bureau of Land Management definition)

Tract

A tract is a parcel of land that lies in more than one section or that cannot be identified completely as a part of a particular section, e.g., Tract 37. Note: Tracts within a township are numbered beginning with 37 to avoid confusion with section numbers.

Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records, Appendices, Glossary.

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