OT: Largest Subdivision

The largest subdivision in the United States is over 36 square miles and subdivided into over 10,000 1-acre lots. It is called the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates (HOVE) and located on the big island of Hawaii. Despite its enormous size, it is home to only about 4,000 residents. The drawbacks are that the location is quite remote and it was carved out of a lava flow. Another drawback is that it is located on the slope of an active volcano.

Google street view works in this location. You have to wonder what the developers were thinking.

https://goo.gl/maps/YHhc1he9Mu6SUdpY6

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaiian_Ocean_View,_Hawaii

3 Likes

You have to wonder what the developers were thinking.

Having worked with developers, and old plats, I can probably answer that.

First off - who told you this is the largest subdivision? Maybe the most individual lots, but I’ve worked with plats that cover far more than 36 square miles. Here in South Florida, most of the surface area was originally platted in a couple of huge subdivisions recorded by the old Florida Fruit Lands company (which collectively covered about 280 square miles and had about 12,000 lots). Here’s an example - if you click on the link and click “Display Image,” each of the little square you see is a square mile - subdivided into 20-acre sites:

https://onlineservices.miami-dadeclerk.com/officialrecords/C…

As for what the developers were thinking, basically if you want to start selling off individual pieces of a larger tract, the easiest way to do that is to record a plat map. That way, instead of having to describe each parcel by a metes and bounds description (“Begin at the corner of Section X, Township Y, Range Z, thence proceed South 89 degrees 7 minutes 8 seconds for 150.39 feet, thence proceed West 88 degrees 4 minutes 7 seconds for 130.43 feet to a POINT OF BEGINNING, thence procee…”), you can just sell them off by lot and block. So the first time you want to sell any of your land, you need a plat - and if you’re platting some of your land, you might as well just plat all of your land, so you don’t need to go back and do it over and over again.

So if you own 36 square miles, you just plat it all at once - and you sell the land off in huge bunches of those platted lots.

If anyone’s curious about the old “selling swampland in Florida” shenanigans that led to the Florida Fruit Lands plats back in the day, here’s a little explainer. In addition to the 280 square miles they owned in South Florida, they also had another ~650 square miles up in central florida:

https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/tag/the-florida-fruit-land…

Albaby

4 Likes

First off - who told you this is the largest subdivision?..

…As for what the developers were thinking, basically if you want to start selling off individual pieces of a larger tract, the easiest way to do that is to record a plat map.

Thanks for a clarification. I was reading about HOVA today and that claim was mentioned a couple of different places. It is actually the first result on Google (not saying that makes it correct)

My question about what developer was thinking is because not only is it subdivided, the developer also built all the roads (which are still privately owned and maintained) and provided electrical infrastructure. But if you use Google street view, you can see that much of the subdivision is raw lava fields with no vegetation at all. And again, quite remote.

My question about what developer was thinking is because not only is it subdivided, the developer also built all the roads (which are still privately owned and maintained) and provided electrical infrastructure. But if you use Google street view, you can see that much of the subdivision is raw lava fields with no vegetation at all. And again, quite remote.

Again, coming from a state with a long and rich tradition of selling swampland to unsuspecting northerners, my guess is that they had every expectation of selling off all of those lots. The environmental movement of the sixties caught a lot of developers off guard. I’m sure many of them thought that privately owned lands would always eventually be able to be developed, no matter what their natural state - until that busybody Rachel Carson stuck her nose in.

Albaby

1 Like

Albaby;“Again, coming from a state with a long and rich tradition of selling swampland to unsuspecting northerners, my guess is that they had every expectation of selling off all of those lots. The environmental movement of the sixties caught a lot of developers off guard. I’m sure many of them thought that privately owned lands would always eventually be able to be developed, no matter what their natural state - until that busybody Rachel Carson stuck her nose in.”

Of course, renewed volcanic activity also can put a damper on sales on land subject to lava flows.

Of course, all the Hawaiian islands are merely volcanic eruption material. the Big Island is still growing with active volcanic explosions added hundreds of acres of land at a time when they erupt.

Not long ago, houses in HI were consumed by lava flows.

the Big Island (Hawaii County) is the ‘newest’ of the islands and is still growing. Kauai is a million years old and the volcanic rock in most places has decayed into good top soil so it is a tropical paradise. Oahu is older and more ‘decayed’ volcanic material.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/mbvd/after-your-home-ge…

t.