With the approval of the Secretary of the Interior or authorized delegate, you, as an owner of restricted property, may choose to subdivide your allotment for the purpose of gifting or selling lots in the future, or in order to cure a trespass situation. If the allotment is owned by several people with undivided interests, each of the landowners must agree to the transaction. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is not able to provide funding to assist with the costs of contracting a surveyor or completing the subdivision work. We do not recommend the subdivision of townsite lots due to their limited acreage, but the same process can occur in instances where a subdivision of a townsite lot cannot be avoided.
You must have title to the restricted property, which is confirmed by Certificate of Allotment, Restricted Trustee Deed, Probate decision, or other approved conveyance document.
The following steps are the procedures for a subdivision:
1. Initial Contact: A written request must be submitted to our office to initiate a subdivision transaction. When the request is received by the BIA, a Realty Specialist will be assigned to the transaction.
2. Application & counseling: The Realty Specialist will follow up with you and provide counseling about the transaction process, and other alternatives that may be available to you. The Realty Specialist will also provide you with an application that must be completed and returned. If the property is owned by several parties with undivided interests, all landowners on title must agree to the subdivision and submit an application for the transaction to move forward.
3. Survey: You will select a surveyor and contract with them directly to complete the survey work and provide a plat for review and approval. BIA does not have the funds to pay for a private survey, so any payment arrangements are between the selected surveyor and the landowner(s). You, the Realty Specialist, and the Surveyor, work together during all phases of the survey/subdivision process in order to ensure compliance with the subdivision requirements.
4. Archeological Inventory: An archeological inventory may be necessary and will be conducted by the BIA Archeology staff. The Realty Specialist assigned to your case will request a review from the Branch of Archeology. A recommendation from Archeology to proceed with the subdivision is required.
5. Environmental Compliance: Compliance with NEPA regulations is required. The Realty Specialist will complete a checklist to determine whether a Categorical Exclusion can be used for the transaction, or whether an Environmental Assessment (EA) is needed. If there will be any development of the property as a result of the subdivision, an EA may be required, and if appropriate, a “Finding of No Significant Impact” published either in local newspapers or posted locally. The Realty Specialist handling the transaction will determine who will prepare the Environmental Assessment document.
6. Preliminary Plat Review: The Surveyor is responsible for obtaining preliminary plat approval from the local platting authority, if any. If no platting authority is available, then the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources will review the plat. There is a charge for this review, which is determined by the platting authority, and may be included in the costs associated with your contract with the surveyor. A technical review of the preliminary plat by the BLM Indian Lands Surveyor (BILS) is also required. The BILS plat review will ensure that the plat is clear of defects and identify any corrections required within the plat. The Surveyor may contact the BILS at (907) 271-1612 with any questions about requirements.
7. Appraisal: If the subdivision is being requested for an eminent sale, an appraisal can be requested during the subdivision transaction to help speed up the process for the subsequent sale. A preliminary plat is required to submit with the Appraisal request.
8. Final Counseling: If there are any dedications or rights of way that will be created through the subdivision process, the Realty Specialist will contact the landowner(s) to make sure the effect of the dedication or right-of-way is understood, and is what the landowner intended, as those dedications will become effective once the plat is approved by the Regional Director.
9. Final Plat Preparation: The Surveyor will make any corrections identified by the platting authority, or by BILS, and prepare a final plat. The final plat must contain a signature and Notary block for the landowner(s). The Native allotment number must be placed under the landowner(s)'s name. All landowners on record must sign the plat. The following signature and approval block must also be included on the plat for the Regional Director’s signature:
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS
In accordance with the provisions of Public Law 108-337, 118 Stat. 1357, the within plat and any dedication(s) specifically noted in the owner’s certificate thereon are hereby approved this ______ day of ____________, 20____, by authority of the Secretary of the Interior, as delegated to the undersigned by 209 DM 8, 230 DM1, and 3 IAM 4.
Bureau of Indian Affairs, Alaska Region
[Insert] NOTARY BLOCK
BIA will ensure that the surveyor receives the most current approval block, however, it is recommended that the surveyor contact BIA prior to printing the mylars for verification.
10. After signature: Two original (2) mylar copies are required to be submitted for final plat approval. BOTH mylar copies must have original signatures by all parties signing. The Regional Director has the authority to approve subdivision plats. If DNR is the platting authority, an additional paper original is also required.
11. Report of Investigation: A report will be compiled by the Realty Specialist with a recommendation for further action, and the final plats will be submitted to the BIA Regional Director or other authorized official for review and approval.
12. Decision: The Regional Director or other authorized official will review the report and plats, and determine whether to approve the subdivision.
- If approved, the plats will be signed by the Regional Director or other authorized official and returned to the Realty Specialist. The Specialist will forward the plat prints to the BIA Land Title and Records Office (LTRO). LTRO will record the plat and retain one mylar for the tract files. The second mylar will be submitted to the local platting authority or the State of Alaska, as appropriate, for final approval and recording with the appropriate State Recorder’s office.
- If disapproved, the landowner(s) will be notified of the action taken.
Any affected parties can appeal the decision, and will be informed of the appeal procedures.
Once the plat has been recorded with both the BIA and the State, the landowner(s) can proceed with the transaction that prompted the subdivision process - i.e. sale, lease, gift deed, mortgage, etc., by submitting a request to initiate that transaction.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Bureau of Indian Affairs Alaska Region
Real Estate Services
3601 C Street, Suite 1200 MC-304
Anchorage, Alaska 99503-5947
(800) 645-8465, Extension 2-1