|RE: rezoning and permits: advice||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Rob Sandelin (Exchange) (RobsanExchange.MICROSOFT.com)|
|Date: Thu, 25 Jan 1996 11:14:04 -0600|
Rachel Freifelder wrote about planning for an ecological village and was concerned about zoning. If you are serious about your plans then you should be talking with planning officials from the local municipality. These folks can be HUGE resources to help you figure out the practical details, and if they find you reasonable, they may very well be the folks who can give the best advice about changing the zoning code. It is to your advantage to contact the local planning department and arrange a review of your plans. Get to know who the players are, the name of the director or head of planning, the staff people. To pull off a large scale project, you have to work pretty close with these folks, and if they are on your side, then it will be much easier to make the project into reality. For guidance in changing the zoning, look into how many rezones have happened in the last five years of the type you are looking for. Be nice to the clerks in the planning office and they can give you lots of good information. When someone in the planning department does something nice for you, recognize that with flowers or a complementary letter to their boss. The staff people are ones who do the work, know the details, and frankly, get a lot of rude abuse from builders and such. Investing $50 in flowers for staff people, on a $10,000,000 project is a smart move. Find out who is doing large development projects in the area you want to work in and try and get the development companies planner to talk with you. Sometimes these folks will give you lots and lots of incredable advise for the price of a steak dinner. Successful developers understand the process and how to work it, that's why they are successful, and you can learn a lot from those folks, even if you find them distasteful. If you have someone in your group who is a good smoosher, that's the person to recruit for the task. You might even find a development company that you can partner with. Turning eco-village dreams into reality requires huge amounts of capital, something that successful developers know all about and have access to. I had lunch the other day with a developer and he bragged that he had a 2 million dollar credit limit! Like it or not, developing an eco-village makes you a developer, and all the realities of that role apply. If you can partner with a low-income housing organization that has a track record, you might get some nice breaks in the zoning and planning stuff. Non-profit development is a mystery to most planning departments, but non-profit - low-income housing is not. Finally, spend some time getting in the political system. Is there a planning commission or some such advisory board? If so, sent someone to attend their meetings. What's the local political system? Again, attend the meetings, get to know the names and personalities. I attended the local planning commission meetings for quite some time, and discovered some amazing things which helped a group of folks who were opposed to a large development succeed. I was an "insider" and the developer was an "outsider" and that made all the difference in the outcome. Rob Sandelin Sharingwood >
rezoning and permits: advice Rachel Freifelder, January 23 1996
- RE: rezoning and permits: advice Rob Sandelin (Exchange), January 25 1996
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