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AGO 1954 No. 329 - October 04, 1954
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

CITIES RIGHT TO REGULATE PLATTING AND SUBDIVIDING OF LAND

1. Incorporated cities may regulate the platting and subdividing of two, three or four lots providing the lot contains no dedication of a public street or highway, under Section 4 of the Act of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Washington, approved Nov. 5, 1881 (RCW 58.12.140) notwithstanding the provisions of Ch. 186, Laws of 1937, as amended (chapter 58.16 RCW).

2. A city may and must regulate the platting and subdividing of two or more lots or tracts where the plat contains a dedication of any part thereof as a public street or highway under the provisions of Ch. 186, Laws of 1937, as amended (chapter 58.16 RCW).

3. A city may, pursuant to the Act of Nov. 5, 1881, require an owner who desires to plat land containing less than five lots without a dedication of a public highway or street to present a proposed plot plan showing the proposed rearrangement of his property for approval by the city before the sale of such land may be consummated.  Construing Act of Nov. 5, 1881 (RCW 58.12.140) and Ch. 186, Laws of 1937 (chapter 58.16 RCW).

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                                                                 October 4, 1954

Mr. Donald H. Webster, Director
Bureau of Governmental Researchand Services
266 J. Allen Smith Hall
University of Washington
Seattle 5, Washington

                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 329

 

 

Dear Sir:

            We answer the questions propounded in your letter of August 31, 1954 in the order asked as follows:

            1. Incorporated cities may regulate the platting and subdividing of two, three or four lots that contain no dedication of a public street or highway, under  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] Section 4 of the Act of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Washington, approved November 5, 1881 (RCW 58.12.140) notwithstanding the provisions of Chapter 186, Laws of 1937, as amended (Chapter 58.16 RCW).

            The regulation of platting and subdivision of five or more lots or of two or more lots containing a dedication of any part thereof as a public street or highway, must be accomplished solely under the provisions of Chapter 186, Laws of 1937, as amended (Chapter 58.16 RCW).

            2. A city may and must regulate the platting and subdividing of two or more lots or tracts where the plat contains a dedication of any part thereof as a public street or highway under the provisions of Chapter 186, Laws of 1937, as amended (Chapter 58.16 RCW).

            3. A city may, pursuant to the Act of November 5, 1881, require an owner who desires to plat land (or to change the boundary lines thereof) containing less than five lots, without a dedication of a public highway or street, to present a proposed plot plan showing the proposed rearrangement of his property for approval by the city before the sale of such land may be consummated.

            4. A property owner using a "map" of a subdivision in connection with the sale of less than five lots, without a dedication of a highway or street, approved by a city under the authority of the Act of November 5, 1881, would not violate Section 1, Chapter 224, Laws of 1951 (RCW 58.16.100).

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            We attach a copy of the original Act approved November 5, 1881 Section 4 of which, reported as Section 2341, Washington Code of 1881, and now appearing in substantially its original form as RCW 58.12.140 cited by you and which will be referred to as the earlier Act.

            Section 3 thereof was referred to by the Supreme Court in Forester v. Fisher, 16 Wn. (2d) 325, 337, (January 1943) as still effective.

            Section 4 thereof has not been specifically repealed and the passage of Chapter 186, Laws of 1937, which will be referred to as the later Act, did not work a repeal by implication.  State ex rel. Lockwood v. Glover, 20 Wn. (2d) 124.  The State, etc. v. Spanaway Water Dist., 38 Wn. (2d) 393.

            Applying the rule of statutory interpretation set forth in the last cited case at page 397:

            1. The later Act does not cover the entire subject matter of the earlier since  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] no provision is made for the platting of less than five lots, a dedication being absent.

            2. The later Act is complete within itself as far as it goes.

            3. The later Act was evidently not intended to supersede the earlier legislation.  (Note that the words "as herein provided" contained in Section 10, Chapter 186, Laws of 1937, were deleted in the amendment thereto in Section 3, Chapter 195, Laws of 1951.  We cannot read into the act of the Legislature an intent to make it impossible for a municipality to regulate the platting of two, three, or four lots containing no dedication of a street or highway as a property owner may plat four lots if he desires to do so.)

            4. Each Act may be given effect within its scope.  The earlier Act being limited to the platting of two or more lots but less than five in cases where there is no dedication of any part thereof as a public street or highway, and the later Act governing in all other cases.

            Your fourth question was asked and answered with reference to the subject matter of your first three questions.

            Please advise if we can be of further assistance.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General


E. P. DONNELLY
Assistant Attorney General

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