St. Mary

All applications for Building Permits within this parish must be submitted to the St. Mary MC.

Secure Subdivision St. Mary overview

Understand more about the process…

The St. Mary Municipal Corporation (SMMC) is the local planning authority for the parish of St. Mary and is responsible for overseeing all developments within this area.  As such, all applications for Subdivision Approvals must be submitted to the St. Mary MC.

When subdividing land, whether existing or purchased, a locally Commissioned Land Surveyor must be retained to prepare a plan of the entire property, this includes that portion, which is being bought or otherwise is to be used for the development.  

A subdivision plan is a large-scale map showing the surveyed land space as well as other information required by the Municipal Corporation.  When a subdivision application is received, it is assessed based on several different criteria. These include, but not limited to:
•    How the plans match the zoning regulations (in the Development Order).
•    The suitability of the proposed use, considering the adjoining uses.
•    Whether the area falls in a hazard/disaster zone.
•    Size and number of lots.
•    Availability of utilities.
•    Existing use of the land.

Subdivision Categories: (based on number and the size of the lots)
•    Nine (9) lots or less and Under 5 acres
•    Nine (9) lots or less and Over 5 acres
•    Ten (10) lots or more, and Over 5 acres

As an Investor, it is important that you first consult with the Local Planning Authority/Municipal Corporation before starting on any detailed design work.  Prior to submitting your application make sure that you have prepared and obtained all the necessary information required for the application. Contact the MC about the Development Application Help Desk (DAHD) about their walk-in “Pre-Check” Service or the Development Assistance Centre (DAC) at NEPA for a consultation.

For more information about the St. Mary MC Subdivision Approval Process, continue to the next steps in this guideline

Complete the relevant form(s) and provide any supporting information/documents…

You may visit the Municipal Corporation to collect the application form for Subdivision Approvals or download it from their website.  In general, the process can be straightforward and simple once you are aware of the steps to follow. However, based on the size, location and the number of lots/parcels that your land is being divided into for your development to take place, there may be specific additional documents to be submitted and the processing time may increase.   In order to ensure your application is processed expeditiously and within the relevant timeframe, please ensure all the required supporting documents and information are fully completed and submitted along with your application.  

Application Requirements:
The requirements for this process are listed below. It is recommended that your application for Subdivision Approval be submitted and obtained prior to submitting your planning/building applications, as you will be required to include your approved Subdivision Plan as a part of the documentation for the other two (2) application processes.

For Subdivision Approval:
•    Application Form to be completed. See form - “Subdivision Application”.
•    Other Supporting Documents to be prepared and submitted.
•    Subdivision Plan - to be completed by a locally Commissioned Land Surveyor, which should include the following information:
•    The number of lots you plan to divide the land into.
•    The proposed use of the lots.
•    Name and widths of the existing and proposed roads.
•    The existing and proposed heights, sizes and use of buildings to ensure buildings are built on appropriate soil.
•    Proof of ownership of the land - (see checklist for acceptable forms of proof of ownership).
•    Certificate of Property Tax Payment – most current. 
•    A Project Brief - (where applicable e.g. large/complex proposals).
•    Location Plan - drawn to scale (geo referenced/GPS coordinates).

Please note for subdivisions of ten (10) lots or more, and over 5 acres - an Environmental Permit is required.

For more information on the various forms, requirements, and checklists, email the St. Mary MC .

Submit your completed application…

Once your form(s) and all supporting information/documents have been completed, signed, stamped and certified where required, you will need to visit the Municipal Corporation to submit your Application and pay the relevant application fees. 

Submission Requirements:
•    All plans must be signed by the applicant or developer and the land surveyor.  The correct number of copies of the plan to be submitted depends on the size of the parcel to be subdivided and the number of lots into which it will be subdivided for your development. However, as a general guide see below:

For Subdivision Approvals:  

  • Application Form and supporting documents listed above - (6) copies.
  • Subdivision plan(s)/drawing(s) are to be printed, stamped, signed and submitted.
  •  For subdivisions of nine (9) lots or less and under 5 acres – (18) copies of the plan.
  • For subdivisions of nine (9) lots or less and over 5 acres – (22) copies of the plan.
  • For subdivisions of ten (10) lots or more and over 5 acres – (22) copies of the plan.

Please note that of the total number of sets required above, at least two (2) sets should be stamped and approved by the Jamaica Fire Brigade (Fire Approval). If you so choose, this may be done prior to your submission to the MC.  See JFB application form and review guidelines.

For additional guidance, consult your MC through their Development Application Help Desk (DAHD) to verify the required number of copies to be submitted for your specific project.

The address and contact information for the Municipal Corporation is indicated below:
St. Mary Municipal Corporation 
Planning Departmen
2 Hodgson Street
Port Maria 
St. Mary 
Jamaica W.I.
Tel: 1 (876) 994-2648/2212/9410/725-0302
Fax: 1 (876) 994-2372
Monday – Thursday: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm 
Friday: 8:30 am – 4:00 pm

Pay the relevant processing fees…

Subdivision application fees are calculated based on the number and size of the lots into which the land is to be subdivided.  In addition, there is also a separate site inspection fee.  After all the assessments are made, a fee is paid to submit the application. Also, a fee has to be paid to the National Works Agency for their review. 

General application fees:

  • For residential, agriculture and institutional lands (½ of 1% of the unimproved value plus JMD$1000 per lot plus 0.4-0.5% of infrastructure costs (where applicable)
  • For commercial and industrial lands (1% of the unimproved value plus JMD$1000 per lot plus 1% of infrastructure costs)
  • Site inspection: JMD$X000

Other reviewing agency fees:

  • National Works Agency (NWA) and Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) reviews documentation
  • National Works Agency - they will assess documentation  and advise.
  • Jamaica Fire Brigade:    JMD$3000-7000

Fees related to reviewing agencies should be paid over directly to those agencies.

The cashier at the Council Administrative Building is open from:
Monday - Thursday: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm 
Fridays: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
*Please note:  Fees are subject to updates.

Processing Time:

  • Subdivision Approvals - maximum of ninety (90) working days. 
  • Processing time for approvals may vary depending on the number of reviewing agencies that need to provide feedback. 
  • Once discrepancies are found with the application the time is stopped and is restarted only once the necessary changes have been made and presented to the Corporation.  
  • Your application’s progress can be tracked online, and you are able to view its status by going to the MCs’ websites or using the AMANDA System.

To learn more about tracking your application, visit the AMANDA System…or contact your MC.

Understand more about the process…

For subdivisions of ten (10) lots or more and over 5 acres: The MCs will circulate your application to the following agencies:
•    Jamaica Fire Brigade - for first assessment (unless already done prior to submission) and then returned to the MC for further circulation to the other Agencies below.
•    National Environmental and Planning Agency (NEPA assesses the application and then in turn will circulate your application to the following agencies as required:
•    National Works Agency (NWA) (additional costs related to this review)        
•    Environmental Health Unit, Ministry of Health
•    National Water Commission (NWC) 
•    Jamaica Bauxite Institute    
•    Agricultural Land Management Division (ALMD), MICAF 
•    Office of Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management (ODPEM),  
•    National Irrigation Commission (NIC)     
•    Water Resources Authority       
•    Mines & Geology Division (if on a hill slope)   
•    Other Agencies as may be deemed necessary

•    Technical Reviews - conducted by the various Reviewing Agencies, who will provide their written comments/recommendations.
-    For subdivisions of nine (9) lots or less and under 5 acres: 
•    Agencies’ Comments/Recommendations – returned to the Corporation for review and compilation by their Planning Department.
•    MC’s Planning Department - makes recommendation on application based on the comments it received from the other reviewing agencies.

For subdivisions of nine (9) lots or less and over 5 acres/ten (10) lots or more and over 5 acres:
•    Agencies’ Comments/Recommendations – returned to NEPA for review and compilation by the Planning Department.
•    NEPA’s Comments/Recommendations – made by their Subdivision Committee based on their review and the comments it received from the other reviewing agencies.
•    NEPA’s Report – including recommendations is then returned to MC’s Planning Department.

•    The Planning Department compiles the recommendations and sends to MC’s Roads and Works Department for review.
•    Conditions of Approval are prepared by the MC’s Roads and Works Department based on their review and the comments received from the Planning Department.
•    Conditions of Approval are sent to the Applicant for review and acceptance. 
•    Applicant signs and returns written acceptance of the “Conditions of Approval”.
•    Final decision made by the Physical Planning and Environment Committee (PPEC) and sent to the Minister with portfolio responsibility for Land, Environment, Climate Change and Investments.
•    MC sends decision to Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for Land, Environment, Climate Change and Investments.
•    Minister confirms application and gives final approval. 
•    Approved and confirmed subdivision plan is distributed to the Applicant by the Municipal Corporation. 

When the applicant is given the conditions of approval to accept, they can halt the process at any point by writing to request closure, by refusing to accept the recommendations or they may agree by signing and return the documents to the MC.

Once your plan is approved, the Municipal Corporation will contact you within fourteen (14) days after the final decision has been made. 

To learn more about this process visit the St. Mary MC's website.

Understand more about the process…

Collect your approved document(s)…

You are required to pick up your final subdivision plans at the St. Mary MC. If an Agent is submitting the application on your behalf, you will need to provide them with a letter of authorization, stamped and signed by a Justice of the Peace or a Notary Public.  

At the end of the process you would have received the following:
•    Your Subdivision Approval(s) - (Stamped Plans/Drawings)

Register your subdivision plan and secure splinter titles…

Under the Registration of Titles Act, your subdivision plans must be registered by the Registrar of Titles, at the Land Titles Division, of the National Land Agency (NLA) and also the Real Estate Board (for subdivisions over 6 lots).  A registered plan for a subdivision creates new, separate parcels of land and can be legally used for the sale of lots.  

Once your plan has been registered, it is then possible to apply for your individual/splinter titles from the NLA.   It is however recommended that where possible, one submission should be made to both register your plan and secure your splinter titles.

Submission Requirements:
The process requires that the NLA first registers your plan and then the splinter titles can be issued. Applicants can either submit separate applications to register your plan and then apply for the titles at a later date; or they can submit to have the plan registered and titles issued in one application. 

Registering your Plan:
In order to get your plan registered, you will have to submit the following documents: 
•    Your Subdivision Approval – stamped plans and conditions of approval.
•    The Duplicate Certificate of Title – certified copy.
•    A Pre-Checked Plan - depicting the lots in the subdivision and prepared by a Commissioned Land Surveyor.
•    A Statutory Declaration - from the Commissioned Land Surveyor verifying the accuracy of the pre-checked plan. 
•    Processing Fee - receipt.

Once the plan has been approved and registered, you will be notified of a deposited plan number which will be assigned to the pre-checked plan.  Then, if you did not already do so along with your application for your registered plan, you may now apply for your Splinter Titles.

Securing your Splinter Titles:
In order to secure your splinter titles, you will have to submit the following documents: 
•    Application to surrender Certificate of Title – form “Section 77 Surrender Application”  to be completed and submitted to the NLA.  The application form must properly describe both the applicant and the property and state the value of the lots as well as the number of titles to be issued.  
•    Other Supporting Documents – includes the following to secure your splinter titles.
•    Your Subdivision Approval – stamped plans and conditions of approval.
•    The Duplicate Certificate of Title – certified copy.
•    Your Registered Pre-Checked Plan - depicting the lots in the subdivision and prepared by a Commissioned Land Surveyor.
•    A Statutory Declaration - from the Commissioned Land Surveyor verifying the accuracy of the pre-checked plan. 
•    Application Fee - Receipt.

Where a separate application is made for your splinter titles, the previously registered pre-checked plan should be attached to the application.  The Registrar of Titles will request that the Director of Surveys re-check the plan again and make a report to the Registrar of Titles. 

Overall Registration/Application Process:
In order to ensure that the application fulfills the requirements of the laws, the following processes are carried out: 
•    Documents reviewed and assessed - at the Land Titles Division. 
•    Pre-Checked Plan checked - sent to the Surveys and Mapping Division to be checked to ensure that the land is not yet registered, and the plan is acceptable in accordance with the Land Surveyors Act. 
-    If the plan is found to be correct the Director of Surveys will report that the plan may be accepted for registration. 
-    If the plan is found to be incorrect the Director of Surveys will report that the plan is not acceptable for registration. 
•    All Documents sent to Registrar of Titles – submitted for consideration. 
•    Application processed - where the documents are found to be in order, NLA will process the application.
•    Application Approved by Registrar of Titles - for splinter titles to be issued each individual lot in the name of the new owner(s).
•    Notice of Approval - sent to the applicant.
•    Application published - in a particular newspaper in the manner prescribed by the Notice.

Issuing Splinter Titles:
Preparation of the Certificates of Title will commence after proof of advertisement has been submitted (i.e. the newspaper pages with the advertisements pertaining to the application) and also payment of any outstanding fees. 

The Certificates of Title with plans will be issued after the first appearance of the advertisement in the newspaper, provided that a Caveat has not been lodged against the application or any Court action commenced, which precludes the issuance of the titles, until the court proceedings have been resolved and the Registrar of Titles notified 

Processing/Application Fees and Taxes:
Registration fees are payable when documents are submitted, and the applicable fees are determined by an Assessor at the Land Titles Division (see below). 

Registration Fees for Plan:

  • JMD$1000 for the 1st 30 lots, plus
  • JMD$750 for each lot over 30 lots

Your application fees for your splinter titles are assessed based on the market value for each individual lot. 

Application Fees for Splinter Titles:

  • JMD$800 for the 1st JMD$100000 of market value, plus
  • The Balance of the overall Value /10000 x50 = JMD$ Additional Fee

 Cost for issuing new Titles:

  •  JMD$5000 per title without a plan
  • Additional JMD$2000 each with a plan

A dated official receipt which contains the name of the person lodging the application and an application reference number will be issued. The number printed on the receipt is the Application Number and must be quoted when making enquiries about the application. This receipt must be kept until the application is completely processed.

Processing Time:
•    Getting your Registered Plan: the average time ranges between seven (7) to ten (10) weeks. 
•    Securing your Splinter Titles: the average time is twenty-eight (28) working days.

With your subdivision formally registered, you may now proceed with the implementation of your development. 

For more information on this process, contact the National Land Agency (NLA).