Re: Self-developers
From: Scott Cowley (
Date: Wed, 15 May 1996 15:59:28 -0500
To Rich, Buzz, and David, 
thanks for opening up this discussion topic again.
    Our current consultants include an architectural team of 3, an attorney, and
a Project Manager.  Each has the traditionally-defined roles of design,
legal consultation, and financial management.  We are in the process of trying
to get a General Contractor and bank on board.
   So far, the consultants are falling all over each other.   The fact that we 
are in a pioneering role has become painfully obvious.  We have the architects 
and the city planning dept. in knots because we are trying to apply for 
everything all at once.  The architects, in particular, thought they could do 
the rezoning and PUD process for us, but we have experienced delays of
3 months because they could not ask the right questions of the "flexible"
city planning department.  The attorney could not easily handle as simple a
phenomenon as selling a piece of land without selling a small house on it.
  Also, they are quite clumsy  about how to interface with a group of naive 
educate them,  and develop a common consciousness around design features.
They keep asking the group to make decisions about features for which it has no
basis of knowledge.  We know neither the cost ranges, nor the eventual product
look or other major characteristics.  So we have asked for pictures, 
environmental impacts,  and costing estimates.
    We have had to become consultants for our consultants.  But that's the
fun part.  I see no other way to get a local pool of experienced consultants
short of some pain.  This group "pain" is also a fine basis for our eventual
community consciousness, the glue which will make us different from a
developer-driven project.   For our part, our job is to learn how and what
questions to ask of the consultants we have hired, and what exactly to believe
from their answers.
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