Land UseAttorneys are one of your Land Planning Consultants

March 13, 20200

Like we’ve talked about in previous blogs, getting your construction/development plans approved requires a team. Quick approval depends on enlisting experts in their respective fields.  Your contractor and subcontractors must provide detailed descriptions of the work being done. Your engineer must have knowledge of the various concerns in your area, as well as the requirements for site plans. Also, you may need additional experts with subject matter expertise in specific niche areas (maybe geohydrology, sea-level rise estimates, etc.).

It is essential to a speedy process that your attorney knows how the application process works in the specific municipality you’re trying to build in. Your attorney is only one of your land planning consultants, but all of them are focused on making sure your plan is successful.

A Prime Example

Perhaps the best way to describe why or how land planning consultants assist you in getting your permits and/or approvals faster is to show by example something that could force you to withdraw an application for a construction or development project…

As recently as this week, a project was causing public outcry in Providence – from the Washington Park and South Providence neighborhoods in particular. Allens Providence Reycling, LLC was proposing to construct and operate a waste transfer station at the Port of Providence. The proposal and applications for permits were withdrawn by the developer, after concerns raised by the Department of Environmental ManagementMayor Jorge Elorza, and City Council members, among others.

Community members were stringently opposed to the approval of this new waste transfer station at the Port of Providence. These members also rejected statements from the project’s land planning consultants that attempted to alleviate concerns. The community members cited to previously-studied health concerns such as the high levels of childhood asthma in the nearby neighborhoods (research has continued on these health concerns), and any pollution’s exacerbation of climate change and environmental degradation issues.

The Providence City Plan Commission, charged with approving or denying planning applications in the City, released its report on the application in advance of what would have been their vote during their March 17th hearing. The vote was to recommend a denial of the project. The report recognized that the project, as proposed, would likely have difficulty fulfilling the Comprehensive Plan’s environmental justice requirements, and that the particular use is not allowed by the zoning code. These issues could have potentially been investigated and discovered earlier in the process by land planning consultants. Earlier discovery could have saved the applicant time and money and perhaps even kept their project on track.

What You Can Do

The developing person or entity developing is hedging its bets on selecting experts and attorneys who will advocate for the project. Advocacy from land planning consultants cannot be overly zealous, missing out on the practical and human aspects of plan approvals. The most critical skills for these land planning consultants, aside from the technical expertise, is knowing how to promote the project and where to recommend concessions in order to gain approval from not only the public, but the bodies in charge of permitting. Without these skills at play, projects small and large will be far more expensive to approve or may need to be scrapped.

Hiring engineers, experts, and attorneys who understand the local distinctions and process for approval is any project’s best first step. Speak with us to consult on potential legal issues for your project. Call us today at 401.477.0023.

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