RE: rezoning and permits: advice (and more!)
From: Scot E. Ferris (
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 1996 12:34:19 -0600
At 11:12 AM 1/25/96 -0600, Rob Sandelin of Sharingwood wrote:

>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.

This is, with out a doubt, the best way to go about developing your project.
Go down and talk to the planners who are going to be doing the staff report
to the 
City Council/Planning Commission/fill-in-the-blank.  
The staff people are the ones who can make or break a project!!!  
Be really nice to the secretaries!!!!  They control the access to all of the

Most important is :  Get a copy of the General Plan and/or
Zoning Code and attempt to figure it out *before* you go down to City Hall.

>>>>>>>>Do your homework before hand!!!!!!<<<<<<<<<<<< 

I deal everyday with people looking for advise on planning/zoning/etc 
matters and can tell you that those who take the time to do the homework,
have a good attitude about dealing with "City Hall (Hell?)" are the ones
that I feel the best about helping and make me feel like going the extra mile


>a complementary letter to their
>boss. [makes planners VERY happy!!!] Much better than flowers.
Flowers die, letters go into the file!

<more snipped>

>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.

Thank You Rob, I could not of put it any better.

If any of you out there would like an "insiders view" (from my humble view point
as a staff member) of the whole process, please do not hesitate to send me
an E-mail!!!!!

Scot E. Ferris
Associate Planner/GIS/Economic Development      
City of Newport Beach, CA                       |{snail mail}   
sferris [at]                  |3300 Newport Blvd.
(714) 644-3231                          |P.O.Box 1768
(714) 644-3250 fax                              |Newport Beach, CA  92658-8915  

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