permitting/negotiating
From: Judy (BAXTER%EPIHUBVX.CIS.UMN.EDU)
Date: Wed, 4 May 94 10:57 CDT
Nancy Wight (New View, Acton) wrote: 
The main reason why the costs are over appraised value is because we 
planned a community of 29 houses on this particular piece of land, and
after going through some of the permitting/negotiating process, if
we continue with our current permit, we are only able to have 23-24 
(with one affordable unit on site).  The reasons why this happened
are complicated - we were mislead by the town planner, the negotiations
with two neighbors didn't turn out the way we thought it would, some
legal issues turned up, etc.  I think our biggest problem was the cost
of the land, which was very expensive (which is unfortunately the case
for a lot of this area).
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Oh dear - just what I hate to hear about the permitting process.  We (Monterey
Cohousing Community) have just gone through 2 site plan revisions because the
Planning Commission and the Variance Board would not allow us any leeway with
our site plan, forcing lots more concrete, loss of some central green space.
our development consultant  apparently misread the City Planner with respect to
the option of any variances, plus our neighboring townhouse development came
out in force to the Variance Hearing.  Apparently that's what drove the strict
reading of when variances would be allowed.  We are now moving forward, with
some of us concerned about the strategy of counting on our easement for
emergency vehicle exit from our property.  Nancy's story sounds too familiar.

I think the fact that the earlier situation was misread creates a sense of
uncertainly in who's judgement to trust on how much trouble the neighbors can
make.  It's a complex situation  - and it appears we are dealing with mostly
fairly rational people and a few who are just furious and want to make as much
trouble as they can.  And, like Acton, we are struggling to keep costs down.
For us, a lot of the cost comes from our "challenging site" - the revisions
force us into more retaining walls and earth moving.  I guess the bottom line
is that development is risky, and many of us never really wanted to get into
development, but there was no other way to do this site - at least we saw no
options of someone else buying and developing it for us. And it is stressful
and slow. 

Judy

Judy Baxter, Monterey Cohousing Community, (MoCoCo)
Twin Cities Area, Minneapolis/St.Paul Minnesota
e-mail: baxter [at] epivax.epi.umn.edu

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