Word of the Day – Thursday, December 6th



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PLAT (plat)

A plan, map, or chart of a piece of land with actual or proposed features (as lots)
Common clues: Surveyor's map; Developer's map; Land map; City map; Map of lots; Realtor's map

Crossword puzzle frequency: 2 times a year
Frequency in English language: 55317 / 86800
Surveying and mapping

A plat in the United States (plan or cadastral map) is a map, drawn to scale, showing the divisions of a piece of land. United States General Land Office surveyors drafted township plats of Public Lands Surveys to show the distance and bearing between section corners, sometimes including topographic or vegetation information. City, town or village plats show subdivisions into blocks with streets and alleys. Further refinement often splits blocks into individual lots, usually for the purpose of selling the described lots; this has become known as subdivision.

An 1878 plat map of Transitville (now Buck Creek, Indiana)

After the filing of a plat, legal descriptions can refer to block and lot-numbers rather than portions of sections. In order for plats to become legally valid, a local governing body, such as a public works department, urban planning commission, or zoning board must normally review and approve them.

The creation of a plat map marks an important step in the process of incorporating a town or city according to United States law. Because the process of incorporation sometimes occurred at a courthouse, the incorporation papers for many American cities may be stored hundreds of miles away in another state. For example, to view the original General Land Office plat for the city of San Francisco, California, filed in 1849, one must visit the Museum of the Oregon Territory in Oregon City, Oregon, as at that time Oregon City was the site of the closest federal land office to San Francisco.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Plat".