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Feeling the Impact? Lower Your Costs in the Development Application Process

Feeling the Impact? Lower Your Costs in the Development Application Process

Developers and property owners are required to go through a complex process of review at multiple layers of government when processing development applications. One of the requirements is an impact and concurrency analysis, which analyzes the impact the proposed building will have on public facilities and utilities, such as roads, sewer, infrastructure, and schools. What many applicants do not realize is that there are ways to save money, sometimes significant amounts, by reviewing the classification of uses, the applications reviewed, and vested rights. We recently saved in the high six-figures for a savvy and experienced developer by re-classifying a high-rise as a mid-rise and working with staff on the formulas used for fee calculation.

There is sometimes confusion as to what defines the developmental capacity, whether it’s through the site plan or a plat, and whether it is one phase of a development or a unified site. Many times these require keen eyes and persuasive and persistent advocates to ensure you are receiving the most favorable and accurate interpretation possible. Likewise, there may be vested rights, such as already-paid for trip counts associated with your plat or parcel. For example, in Broward County prior to 2006 the level of development identified on the plat note triggered the payment of county impact fees at time of recordation, whereas now impact fees are paid prior to receiving a building permit. It is crucial to review previous approvals and applications, which can only be done by having a knowledgeable and passionate advocate on your side. Last year we saved low six-figures for a small commercial development by meticulously sifting through records at the County and ascertaining that the original developer had paid for a higher level of development than our application. The moral of the story is that it is smart and economical to hire a land use attorney to review your fees and advocate on your behalf – a little investment can go a long way!

Jeremy Shir

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